The city of Sedona needs your help in regard to something most would rather not talk about — wastewater.

The city is in the early stages of updating its wastewater collection system master plan, which was last completed in 2000. Over the past 16 years, there have been substantial changes to the collection system and reconsideration of plans to expand the system to various locations in the city, associate city planner Roxanne Holland said.

The master plan update has a maximum budget of $200,000 with the work being done by Carollo Engineers.

During a open house on Tuesday, Dec. 5, attendance was less than expected. But for those who did attend, staff was able to garner important information from them that will be included in the update.

“Overall the meeting was well received,” Holland said afterward. “The public that attended was supportive of the city’s efforts in
developing the Wastewater Master Plan Update and supportive of improvements or expansion of the sewer system for environmental sustainability. We received some valuable feedback that we will utilize as we move forward with the project.”

The scope of work will include:

  • Development of flow projections.
  • Determination and possible revision of sewer service area boundaries.
  • Hydraulic modeling will be used to determine deficiencies within the collection system.
  • Analysis of possible efficiencies — elimination of lift stations, overflow emergency strategies for major lift stations, feasibility of removing old cluster systems.
  • Identify a capital improvement plan for recommended upgrades and major repairs.
  • Conduct public outreach such as mailings, fliers, website, public meetings.

Many of those in the audience currently have privately-owned septic systems and questioned how they go about tapping in to the citywide system and its costs. About
60 percent of the population is on the city wastewater system. For those looking to join, there is a $9,757 cost to do so. And, city code states that if a homeowner, for example, is the third or fourth house in on a street and wishes to connect to the city’s system, all the homes between the connection point and that house must do the same.

When Sedona became incorporated in 1988, state law mandated that the city provide a wastewater system for the residents. However, because of costs and logistics, 40 percent of the homes and businesses are still not on the system. As the septic tanks age, city officials said that the likelihood of the tanks going bad increases. Holland said there are several ways of telling if a tank is leaking. The first is a strong odor while others include wastewater seeping out of the ground and a backup in the system within the home.

“There’s no way to know the actual number of tanks that may be leaking,” she said, adding that septic system experts can come to one’s home and do tests.

It was also pointed out that the law requires those who go from a septic system to the city system have their tanks filled with gravel.
As the update moves forward, Carollo will continue to compile comments and questions, update the Sedona City Council on their progress, analyze areas of the city looking to connect, meet with smaller groups like HOAs and individual neighborhoods and finally host a second public meeting.

The holiday season is officially upon us as Holiday Central kicked off its fourth year this past weekend with the lighting of the tree in Uptown and breakfast with Santa.

And this year, an old Sedona favorite will make its return but with a holiday twist.  

“We are so excited for Red Rock Fantasy to return to Sedona at Tlaquepaque arts & crafts village,” said Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and a Holiday Central committee member. “This year’s event is shaping up to be what we’ve always wanted Red Rock Fantasy to become — a community-wide event where many business, nonprofit organizations and the entire community is involved.

As a way to provide additional free parking in the Uptown area, as well as potential others uses, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce is looking into buying a vacant building on Jordan Road.

During a presentation to the Sedona City Council on Nov. 22, Chamber President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff stressed the importance of balancing tourism while looking out for the interests of residents and business owners as well.

A family of eight — ranging in age from 8 to 79 — were transported to the hospital following exposure to carbon monoxide.

According to Sedona Fire District Fire Inspector Rick Evans, crews were dispatched to a home on Andante Drive at 9:40 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 28. Initial units arrived on scene in less than three minutes and found an adult male patient complaining of nausea and light-headedness. During questioning of additional family members, SFD Capt. Brian Ford quickly realized that there may be a potentially dangerous accumulation of carbon monoxide inside of the home, Evans said.

Over the last 20 years Sedona has seen its fair share of changes. But one thing that hasn’t changed much is the city’s Land Development Code — until now.

The city hired the consulting firm of Clarion to update the LDC, which was last overhauled in 1995, just seven years after incorporation. The public got its first glimpse at how the code will be updated over the next 18 months during an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Sedona Public Library.

It comes down to simple math — 2.8 million visitors coming to a town of 10,000 residents. In the end, there are bound to be some issues.

While traffic is the biggest complaint among residents, another one that is quickly moving up the list is parking, specifically trailhead parking.

The Sedona City Council received an update on the issue during its Thursday, Nov. 10, meeting. A city report states that the recent increases in tourism have increased the number of parking-related issues at and/or near trailheads. In recent months, residents near Soldier Pass Trailhead, in particular, have complained about the overflow of vehicles parking on neighborhood streets.

The city is weighing its options when it comes to intervening on behalf of its residents regarding a proposed rate hike by Arizona Power Service next year.

City Attorney Robert Pickels said he’s waiting for direction from the Sedona City Council as to whether or not it will intervene. But in order to keep that option, he needed to file the paperwork to do so by Thursday, Nov. 10. He said that APS can object to the filing but he doesn’t expect that to happen.

The Sedona City Council gave its blessing for staff to continue moving forward with Ranger Station Park. But due to funding restraints, aspects of the park are expected to be added over the next three or four years.

Council was given an update on the park, located on Brewer Road, during its Thursday, Nov. 10, meeting and also approved the hiring an outside consultant for the project.

The city acquired the land at 250 Brewer Road in 2014 to ensure the preservation of the historic buildings and to create a community park in the heart of Sedona. The ranger’s house was built in 1917 and the barn was built in 1934. Both are designated City Historic Landmarks and are also on the National Register of Historic Places. All other structures on the property — none of which are considered historically significant — have or will be removed to make way for the park, a city report states.

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