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cultral park12 5-18.jpgFitch Industries is not a villain, Fitch Industries President Kent Fitch said after a presentation by Yavapai College.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Fitch Industries is not a villain, Fitch Industries President Kent Fitch said after a presentation by Yavapai College.

“It’s not all ‘Bad Guy Fitch,’” Fitch said.

The city of Sedona’s Planning and Zoning Commission heard from both Fitch Industries and Yavapai College during a conceptual zone change review Tuesday, May 15, for approximately 6.78 acres of the 44-acre former Sedona Cultural Park property.

On Nov. 29, 2006, Sedona City Council approved an amendment to the Community Plan Future Land Use Map changing the designation of half of the property from “public/semi-public” to “planned area.”

The zone change Fitch Industries is currently seeking would accommodate

construction of Sedona Village — 40 live/work residential condominiums and five commercial buildings.

Yavapai College’s Sedona campus, located on the south edge of the property, also owns five acres on the north side of the park.

Yavapai College only owns the footprint of its building and is required by the city to provide 167 parking spaces, according to Bob Lynch, Yavapai College vice president of administrative services.

Until recently, Lynch said Fitch Industries has been uncooperative and not presented any viable solutions to the issue.

Both parties are interested in a land swap that would give the college property near its facility in exchange for the five acres across the park. Details of the trade are what stakeholders struggle with.

Commissioners said that Fitch Industries resolving the conflict with Yavapai College is essential for the project to move forward.

“Yavapai College is extremely important to Sedona,” Commissioner Allan Bergquist said.

Lynch’s presentation to planning and zoning impassioned Fitch to defend his cause.

“It’s been negative, negative all the way through this [meeting],” Fitch said.

According to Fitch, he is trying.

“I’ve never had a phone call from Yavapai College — not even an e-mail,” Fitch said.

According to Fitch, Fitch Industries made several attempts to work with Yavapai College and presented it with several options that Fitch said favored the college. The college didn’t respond.

“You need to call me if you want to make a deal,” Fitch said. “We’ve [Fitch Industries] made several attempts to solve this.”

Lynch said Fitch Industries and Yavapai College met only once, on Sept. 29.

Since Fitch Industries entered escrow last fall with Sathcupa — the group that purchased the cultural park after it went out of business — Yavapai College has been parking on the property in question, which Fitch said is OK.

“We really do own all the property out there, but we want them to be there,” Fitch said.

Since September, proposals made by Fitch Industries have been denied until a recent option — giving the college land near its building — that Lynch said the college feels confident may work.

Both Fitch Industries and Yavapai College said they are willing to work together to find a solution that will allow them to be neighbors.

Lynch said Fitch Industries’ most recent proposal will be presented to the college’s governing board in June to make the final decision.

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