City News

The city of Sedona is in the early stages of developing 13 community focus areas throughout town. And while it may not be as visible as many of the others, the Schnebly Hill CFA is being looked upon as one of the most important on the list.

The Sedona City Council was given its first glimpse of this CFA, which comes on the heels of those completed for the Western Gateway and Soldier’s Pass. Staff gave a two-hour presentation to council on Jan. 25, and will be back before them on Feb. 15 for the second half of the presentation.

In the summer of 2015, the city began the CFA planning process with 14 property owners in the Schnebly area to review and discuss the existing planning documents and to get their thoughts and ideas for the area. A draft CFA plan was created by city staff based on property owner input and additional research. The plan has since been revised several times following feedback from the public and the Sedona Planning and Zoning Commission.

“The Schnebly CFA is a unique area of the city with potential for future development due to the amount of undeveloped land in close proximity to the Uptown commercial area, Oak Creek and the National Forest,” a city report states.

Expectations of this CFA, as addressed in the Sedona Community Plan, include:

  • Retain large parcels and rural character.
  • Support agriculture as a key character element.
  • Support non-residential uses [i.e bed and breakfast, neighborhood cafe] if tied to the preservation of large land areas and generates less traffic than medium-density residential.
  • Retain similarly affordable housing provided in existing mobile home/RV park.
  • Protect riparian environment along Oak Creek.
  • Evaluate potential for environmentally sensitive public creek access.
  • Preserve historic resources such as Gassaway House.

This CFA consists of 91 acres with 92 percent of the zoning in that area listed as single-family residential. There are 41 homes in the area but under current zoning it could allow for 260 additional homes.

The city report states that future development could include new houses on the vacant lots, existing parcels being split into smaller residential lots and the RV park property being developed as housing. There are limitations to development such as steep hillsides and floodplains however there are few incentives to preserve them under the current zoning.  

Associate Planner Cynthia Lovely said the CFA proposes a new zoning district specific to this area — the Oak Creek Heritage District, which would offer an alternative to single-family residential zoning. This would expand the options available to a landowner that may be considering development or redevelopment of his property. The land uses would be limited to a density, scale and style appropriate to the CFA with uniform design and development guidelines tailored to the area.

“The proposed new district would not be mandatory, but an option for landowners interested in applying for a rezoning of their property,” Lovely said. “The Community Development Department would offer assistance with the rezoning process as another incentive to encourage implementation of the CFA Plan.”


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