In Other News
With approval of its Community Plan amendment, the next step is rezoning, and Fitch Industries is eager to get the process underway.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Fitch Industries is one step closer to constructing non-arts-related commercial development at the former Sedona Cultural Park site, a component Fitch officials feel is necessary for economic viability.

With approval of its Community Plan amendment, the next step is rezoning, and Fitch Industries is eager to get the process underway.

“Ron Badraun showed up on Thursday morning [Nov. 30] to start the process,” Fitch Industries Public Affairs Consultant Susan Solomon said.

Badraun is vice president of Fitch Industries and will be the project manager for the development.

Sedona City Council unanimously approved the amendment proposal to change the Community Plan Future Land Use Map designation

from “public/semi-public” to “planned area” for 23 acres of the former cultural park on Nov. 29.

Fitch Industries is currently in escrow with Sathcupa for the entire 44-acre parcel. The sale should be finalized in January, Solomon said.

Now Fitch Industries will begin the rezone and development agreement process.

The plan change allows for up to 40,000 square feet of non-arts-related commercial space and a 160,000 square foot building area if the rezone is successful.

Non-arts-related commercial development has been cited by Fitch Industries as a necessity to making this project work financially.

Fitch Industries isn’t asking for the actual zoning of the land to be changed.

The current zoning of the property is “planned area,” but it is tied to the 1995 cultural park plan.

“Planned area” zoning requires the parcel’s development to be tied to a site-specific plan.

If a developer wants to make changes to the plan it has to get approval from the city.

In this case, Fitch Industries has come up with its own plan, for the land, which required a plan amendment for additional uses.

With the designation change, Fitch Industries now needs to have its plan paired with the zoning.

Fitch Industries President Kent Fitch said the only differences between his plan and the original

cultural park plan are the increased amount of commercial spaces and incorporation of non-arts-related commercial development.

Fitch Industries will try to cut down on its planning time to make the rezone process faster, according to Solomon.

“Fitch is committed to moving as quickly as possible,” Solomon said.

Solomon said Fitch Industries has already met with the city to work out site-specific plans and will soon begin collecting signed agreements with investors.

According to Solomon, Badraun will spend much more time in Sedona working on the development and Fitch will visit periodically to oversee progress on the process.

Lodging was originally included in the plan amendment proposal but City Council removed it from the resolution before approval.

Solomon said she believes Fitch Industries will submit a plan amendment to the city that includes lodging at a later date.

Fitch Industries will submit another plan amendment proposal in 2007, Solomon said.


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