Town near Grand Canyon turns down push for taller structures

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Felicia Fonseca/ AP In this Tuesday, oct. 31, 2017 image, Clarinda Vail stands outside the lodge her family owns in Tusayan, Ariz. Vail opposes a tally measure to increase structure heights in the town outside the Grand Canyon’s South Rim entrance.

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017|11:49 a.m.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.– Citizens in Tusayan declined a ballot measure Tuesday that would have caused big changes for the entrance town to Grand Canyon National Park.

The all mail-in election asked locals to decide whether they desired structures heights as much as 65 feet (20 meters). Of the 131 people who cast ballots, 60 supported the procedure, while 71 opposed it.

Italy-based Stilo Development Group U.S.A asked the Town Council for the modification after the U.S. Forest Service obstructed access to two Stilo properties in the area.

The company coordinated with another landowner, Elling Halvorson, in promoting the higher structures to establish their property at the edge of town. It has prepare for apartment buildings, retail shops and accommodations at the site.

Challengers have said it’s the wrong type of development for a town that counts on Grand Canyon tourism. They say Tusayan must support, not diminish the national forest, and were stressed over impacts to water, traffic and the skyline.

“I’m just really pleased that it appears like the Tusayan citizens care more about the Grand Canyon than fulfilling every desire of the Italian designers via the Town Council,” stated Clarinda Vail, whose household settled the area in the 1930s.

The Town Council all approved the increased structure height previously this year however was challenged in a petition drive led by Vail. The town clerk and Coconino County officials at first rejected the petition over a signature a judge later on considered to be legitimate.

Months later on, the Town Council voted to settle the question through a ballot step.

Indications went up around town prompting citizens to say yes to higher buildings to bring jobs, self-reliance and real estate to the community of about 550 individuals. Other indications asked citizens to decline the procedure to protect the Grand Canyon.

Andy Jacobs, a spokesperson for Stilo, stated the company knew the campaign would be an uphill struggle.

“Exactly what we spoke with citizens, and we did a lot of outreach, particularly in the last few weeks, is they still support brand-new opportunities, particularly real estate in town,” he said Wednesday. “They just weren’t sure the height limit was the proper way to set about it.”

A political action committee funded by a Stilo and Halvorson company, Logan Luca LLC., invested numerous dollars on voter lists and the indications, and about $100 on promoted posts on Facebook, Jacobs stated. Much of the $12,000 reported in campaign financial resources went to the consulting firm that uses Jacobs.

A different committee on which Vail acts as treasurer spent $22,000 on lawyer’s charges for the legal battle against the regulation approved by the Town Council, inning accordance with project financing reports. About $100 went to obtain the names of registered citizens.

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