Brian's Key Issues

Brian Fultz Looking To The RightIn discussion with residents and following our local news and social media, I've found Sedona citizens to have quite a consistent view on what they believe are the biggest challenges facing our city. While the ranking differs from one resident to the next, there are four key areas of concern I hear about the most and for which I'm dedicated to addressing.

Short Term Rentals

In many pockets of Sedona, the proliferation of Short Term Rentals has devastated the neighborhood community and sense of place. We must act to counter these effects. I support the decision of the City Council to hire a lobbyist to seek the overturning of SB1350 or the enactment of material fixes to this flawed legislation and return local control of Short Term Rental regulation to cities and towns. Additionally, I have some other ideas I'd like to explore such as hosting a statewide housing forum in which we invite other cities' representatives that have been affected by STRs along with the Airbnb lobby, the Realtor's lobby, and state officials that oppose legislation resulting in a return of local control so that Sedona can cap the number of STRs present in our community. Of course, proponents on returning local control would be invited too but the key is getting these various groups talking outside of the legislative season.

Traffic & Transit

Traffic is a source of frustration for every Sedona resident at one time or another, and like you, I wish it would go away! The good news is that the city Public Works department has numerous projects identified to improve some of our pain points. Their list of projects includes several other initiatives that will improve our quality of life such as the construction of the park at the old ranger station on Brewer Road and many shared-use paths. The City Council rightly has asked the Public Works department if any of these important projects can be completed more quickly, and the response has been that it is a shortage of qualified project managers within Public Works that is drawing out the timeline for many of these projects to get underway. I believe the city should consider contracting with commercial construction companies to hire experienced project managers as consultants to support the execution of a more aggressive timeline on approved projects that are just waiting their turn for a project manager to lead them. These consultant project managers can be housed in our hotels or in other lodging options within the city. Additionally, I support the expansion of the Verde Shuttle to provide affordable transit between Cottonwood and Sedona employment hubs and the March 2022 implementation of the trailhead transit system and the micro-transit initiative, also with a 2022 kickoff. Overall, I'm a proponent of the idea of the park once and then using transit for visitors to Sedona. The benefit is less cars on the road so residents can get around more easily and less vehicle emissions—a win-win.

Workforce/Rental Housing

Workforce/Rental Housing is one topic that I think is often misunderstood. Many people associate Workforce Housing with government-subsidized housing or the crime-ridden projects that were failures in big cities like New York and Chicago. I grew up in the Chicago area and remember well the countless news stories covering gang violence in those projects. But that's not what Workforce Housing means in Sedona. I believe the face of Workforce or Affordable Housing in Sedona is something entirely different. It's the retiree who has been renting here for over 10 years, and now their rent is going up by $900 per month and has to leave. It is the healthcare worker who won't accept the job at our NAH Emergency Department unless she can secure housing. It is the teacher that Red Rock High School would like to hire but can't find housing. And it also includes the police officers that protect us, the city staff that serves us, and countless employees of our local businesses, hotels, and restaurants. This isn't a matter of entitlement that these people are trying to find housing. It is a matter of decency and empathy that calls us to act on this important topic.

We must have critical dialogues and find common ground on this issue of Workforce/Rental Housing so that the city encourages sustainable projects for all of these faces I've described. I believe we should explore 3-D house printing (it's a real thing), tiny houses, and any other innovative ideas that help us make progress on this problem. Sedona needs to contribute to this housing shortage alongside efforts from Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Cornville, Camp Verde, and Rimrock.

Brian Fultz In A Creek

Environmental Stewardship

I think Environmental Stewardship is a broad topic that wraps around all the other key areas I've described. Without serious leadership in this area, we doom our future, and all of our other efforts are wasted. I've heard it said numerous times now that "Tourists love Sedona, but they are loving it to death!" At 3.4 million tourists in the most recently reported travel report, it's hard to argue with that sentiment. In fact, if Sedona were a National Park, we'd be ranked in the Top 10 by number of visitors. We can't close the door, but there are pragmatic steps we can take to mitigate tourist impact. I support Council'sy Council decision to not fund destination marketing via the annual budgeting process for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau (Tourism Bureau) and believe that policy of not funding destination marketing should continue for the foreseeable future.

I believe the Sedona City Council plays an important role in Environmental Stewardship. I think it should task the Tourism Bureau with vital Sustainability initiatives such as positioning Sedona as a "Highly Sensitive Ecological Environment." We need to make every resident and tourist aware of their responsibility for environmental stewardship in our community.

Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) are proving to be an enormous threat to the health and well-being of not only our forest but of the lives of the many residents routinely impacted by the dust and noise that OHVs generate. Limiting access, increasing permit fees, and increasing consequences for unsafe use are all sensible steps we should consider. I've been working on this issue with Sedona Residents Unite to plan and participate in ATV protests and write the US Forest Service and Polaris to take responsible action to address this problem.

I support the city's Climate Action Plan, though I believe it needs to focus more on fewer priorities to ensure meaningful progress is made where it matters most such as water and energy use. And finally, I would like to see the city enhance its communication to residents as it relates to wildfire safety to ensure that our citizens understand the procedures involved should a wildfire threaten our community.
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