Background: On May 25, 2010, the City Council passed a resolution opposing continuous roadway lighting on SR 89A in West Sedona by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and instead supported roadway improvements “that provide the highest level of daytime and nighttime roadway safety.”
In response to the City Council’s action, John Halikowsky, Director of ADOT, sent a letter to the City, dated July 8, stating that unless the City agreed to a Route Transfer of SR 89A, ADOT would proceed with the installation of the continuous roadway lighting. Furthermore, the Director of ADOT established a deadline of August 15, 2010 for the City Council to adopt a resolution directing City staff to negotiate in good faith for a possible Route Transfer or ADOT would proceed with the installation of the continuous roadway lighting. Mr. Halikowsky also established a deadline of January 15, 2011 for the City to make a decision regarding a possible route transfer.
On August 10, 2010, the City Council passed a resolution directing staff to negotiate in good faith with the Arizona Department of Transportation for a possible Route Transfer of SR 89A in West Sedona. This action was in response to Mr. Halikowsky’s letter. In November 2010, the City requested an extension of the January 15, 2011 deadline and ADOT approved an extension to February 28, 2011 in order to provide sufficient time for the City to complete a community education and input process.
The City Council must make a decision on February 22nd in order to comply with ADOT’s deadline for a signed agreement by the end of February.
Since August 2010, the City Council has studied the ramifications of the Route Transfer, disseminated information to the public, and held numerous public meetings to solicit community feedback. Opinion polls and surveys have been conducted to gauge public sentiment.
If the City Council approves the Route Transfer, staff recommends that the following steps be taken within the next sixty days in order to assure that the terms of the intergovernmental agreement are met, and to assure that the City is moving forward in a timely manner with alternative safety improvements:
- Adoption of guidelines for managing SR 89A funds. If the City Council approves the route transfer, all of the funds provided by ADOT must be spent in the Route Transfer Corridor on transportation projects. In order to assure that the City complies with this requirement, it is recommended that guidelines be adopted by City Council for determining how the ADOT funds, provided as part of the Route Transfer Agreement will be managed and spent. The guidelines would include but not be limited to investment policies, future contributions to the restricted SR 89A O&M accounts, process for authorizing expenditures, annual evaluations of budget requirements, and other pertinent policies to assure that the City Council approval could either be in the form of and ordinance or as adopted guidelines.
- Selection of a Transportation Design Consultant. If the City Council approves the Route Transfer, it is important that the City act as expeditiously as possible to contract with a Transportation Design Consultant to begin the process of developing a specific design concept for alternative safety improvements on SR 89A in West Sedona. This would include the community involvement process.If the City Council denies the approval of the Route Transfer, then staff would recommend that the denial also include a request to ADOT to work with the City on studying and implementing other appropriate safety improvements to enhance daytime safety.
The Planning and Zoning Commission considered this issue on February 1, 2011 and by a 4-0 vote, moved to recommend to the City Council that the Commission supports the proposed route transfer of SR 89A for the following long range planning reasons:
- The Route Transfer of SR 89A would allow the City of Sedona to determine its own destiny in any future comprehensive redevelopment planning process for the West Sedona SR 89A corridor.
- The route transfer of SR 89A would allow the City of Sedona to have greater control over the future look and character of SR 89A.
Alternative(s): The City Council can either approve the Route Transfer or deny approval of the Route Transfer. No other viable options are available to Council.