Quality of Life
Protecting Our Environment
Quality of Life
Three critical issues eroding the quality of life in Sedona today are short-term rentals, traffic congestion, and workforce housing. Unfortunately, these are interrelated and complex, and there are no easy answers.
Not all Short-Term Rentals (STRs) are bad. The intended concept of a homeowner renting out a spare bedroom had merit. But Arizona state politicians mangled the implementation of STR regulations and then blocked communities like Sedona from taking action to fix the negative impacts. A sense of community has been lost in many neighborhoods, replaced by concerns over traffic, trash, noise, and parking.
In Sedona, where the availability of apartments and alternatives to single family homes is exceptionally low, the rise in STRs helped fuel rapid increases in housing prices, and decreased units available for the service workers our community depends on. The increase in visitors, plus more commuting, increased traffic beyond the carrying capacity of our roads. Businesses struggle to retain and attract workers due, in-part, to housing and traffic problems.
All these factors diminish the quality of life in Sedona. City Council’s recent decision to hire a state government lobbyist is a good step. We must continue working with the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, redouble our efforts, and use new channels to reach and educate state officials and address our STR, traffic, and housing concerns.
Protecting Our Environment
Surrounded by National Forest lands that include some of the most iconic and admired scenic landscapes in the world, the City of Sedona has a vital role to play in sustaining and maintaining its surroundings. As we work towards the realization of the Sedona Climate Action Plan, we must do so as faithful and committed stewards.
Mitigating the impacts of short-term rentals, managing traffic flows, and addressing the shortage of workforce housing are also important elements of protecting our environment. Additional significant challenges include heat and wildfire risk, flooding, and water resource issues, bike/pedestrian infrastructure, and transit options. Solving most of these challenges require coordinated action with partners across the Verde Valley.
The short-term rental fiasco is just one example of state politicians passing legislation that erodes local control for town and cities. I will join efforts to elect state and regional representatives committed to restoring local control where appropriate. Another important aspect of local control is retaining Sedona’s success with Home Rule budgeting. Home Rule gives us local control of our budget and provides the flexibility to use tourism tax dollars to better solve our unique problems.
“Many feel we’ve lost a bargain between having quiet and peaceful off-seasons interspersed with frenzied tourism periods. Short-term rentals, traffic, and housing issues have diminished our quality of life. In addition, fire, water, and other environmental concerns threatens us more each day. Moving forward, we must invest in mitigating the negative aspects of tourism and balancing the needs and demands of residents, local businesses, and tourists. I will work to restore our quality of life and protect our environment while maintaining and enjoying the benefits of a robust economy.”
Policy Conversation Topics
Campaigning for office is about listening to concerns and exploring solutions. Here are five conversation topics I look forward to discussing with you. Or, send me a note from the Contact Pete page.
- How else might we influence state legislators to restore local control and allow us to solve our STR, traffic, and housing issues?
- What tools and strategies can we use to balance the needs of our residents, local businesses, and visitors? How might tourism tax dollars be allocated to achieve this balance?
- How do we increase community participation in policy discussions and decisions?
- What ideas and suggestions might help improve communications? What changes might be made to the city website, social media, or outreach policy?
- What else can we do to retain and increase the supply of workforce housing?