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Ivan Finley
Sedona's Former Mayor
"Calls it as He Sees IT!"
Statistics Say:
Sedona is "Growing Smarter"

Some say Sedona's growth has gone on a rampage! Fact or fiction? You decide. . .

In 1980, eight years before incorporation, Sedona's population was 5,319 residents. Ten years later, in 1990, there were 7,720 residents. That was an average increase of 240 new residents a year.
In 1999, nine years later, there are 10,145 residents. In that nine year period we gained 2,425 new residents or an average growth of 269 per year.

In the 19 year period between 1980 and 1999, we grew by 4,826 residents, or an average of 254 per year. That's 90.5% in 19 years.
To a lot of us, that does not appear to be rampant growth, but a steady controlled increase that fits the City's community plan.
When all the private property inside the city limits of Sedona is developed, built on, and residences lived in, our projected population is estimated to be 17,045.

That figure includes 2,570 people that use Sedona as a second home community and are not full-time residents. These figures are only accurate if the private land is developed at the maximum density allowed by present zoning density.

Our history to date, shows that the City has only allowed 63% of the units that could have been allowed on present approved sub-divisions. If you use that figure of 63% on all undeveloped private property, then the projected population would be about 14,492.


Our Future Growth Has Limits
When you look at our City boundaries and realize that 45% of the area within the city limits, and virtually ALL the land surrounding our borders is Forest Service Land, then you can see that our future growth is limited to private property only, putting our City well ahead of other communities in the ability to regulate and make our growth, "GROWING SMARTER."
How have we done compared to the State of Arizona, the County of Yavapai and other communities around us?

1980-1990   1990-1995

Arizona   3.5% (35% total growth)   3.0% (15% total growth)
Yavapai County  5.9% (59% total growth)   4.0% (20% total growth)
Sedona  4.1% (41% total growth)    3.3% (16.5% total growth)
Cottonwood  4.9% (49% total growth)    3.4% (23.8% total growth)
Camp Verde area  5.7% (57% total growth)    3.8% (26.6% total growth)
Cornville  11.0% (110% total growth)    4.7% (32.9% total growth)
Village of Oak Creek 18.8% (188% total growth)    5.2% (36.4% total growth)

Sedona (1990-1997)  3.2% (22.4% total growth)

Have I bored you enough yet? If the answer is no, then you need to get a life. I hate to write columns like this one, I haven't gotten to zing anyone yet, but just wait - I may be able to before I am through.


COMMERCIAL GROWTH currently has been devoloped and or approved for development on approximately 71% of the zoned property in Sedona.
Through 1997, there had been 2,083 lodging units, including those approved and not built. That's up from 1,158 in 1990.
Using the last six-year average yearly growth in commercial land utilization (2% per year), in 2010, 93% of the existing, commercially zoned land will be developed and 43% of this will consist of lodging uses.
Obviously, future commercial growth is very difficult to predict and many factors can and will alter these percentages.

Growth has something to do with this very important subject that affects our quality of life, right? Well where does our traffic come from? Are you ready for this?

Highway 89A


  • 66% of total traffic is Shopping/ Business related
  • Less than 20% of total traffic is Tourist/Recreational (includes shopping, dining out, etc.)
  • 38% of total traffic is CITY RESIDENTS/SHOPPING/BUSINESS
  • 8% of total traffic is City Residents Commuting
  • 9% of total traffic is VOC Shopping/Business (and they say "they don't need us and we say we don't want them!") . . . Ah, my first ZING.
  • 47% of total traffic is CITY AND VOC RESIDENTS SHOPPING AND

We has met the enemy and they is US! (P.S. - the other 53% pays over 60% of all our City's bills, and if they didn't, then you would).
I would be more than happy to bore you with the statistics of Highway 179, but I am having a very difficult time staying awake, so all I will say is that they more than duplicate the above numbers.

1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Single family 157 114 99 79 97 131 128 138 104 115 112
Multi family 21 5 14 13 28 59 7 191 9 5 4

The most single family units built in Sedona was the year 1989, the first year that we were a city. The 4R's started the growth initiative in 1994 95, after four of the lowest years of building permits. Makes you wonder what their real motive was?

In 1996 the 191 multi-family units was Nepenthe - at that time a lower priced product that was dearly needed in Sedona - and they have done a great job of finishing this development and should be commended for the quality and the great improvement of "SAFEWAY HILL."

Those of you that have been here more than six years will remember that - several of the City Council people on board stated they would never shop at "Safeway" - but I have seen ALL OF THEM IN THERE.

All in all, I think the growth of Sedona has been very orderly and with quality.

We have one of the most environmentally sensitive land ordinances in the State of Arizona. If you don't believe this, look at the Hampton Inn of Sedona, and the Hampton Inn of Flagstaff. If you can't see the difference, then you should be living in Anywhere America, with no name and no location.

We have design review and standards that far surpass almost every community in the nation.

We have addressed the "timeshare and lodging" with an ordinance that only two communities in the entire nation have recognized. We have determined their influence on the community, and taken the actions necessary to mitigate their impacts on the our quality of life, and taken the steps to make them responsible for their impact on the community, both economically and by their presence.

I think that all of the City Councils that have served us in the short time that we have been a City in the State of Arizona, have served us well, and had the interests of all of us at heart. (I am a little worried about a couple of the recently elected people on the newly elected council, but my past experience has told me that even they may experience the fact that they are in a situation where a single interest will get them nowhere on their agendas if they do not grow into the overall picture and be a productive elected official. How would you like to say, after four years on the city council, that I stuck to my guns, I voted against everything, and did not win a single one of my major issues.)

Most of the statistics above have come from official city documents that are available at the Community Development Department at Sedona City Hall, WHICH WE NOW OWN, THANK GOD AND THE CITY COUNCIL.

I also believe that the City of Sedona made a great purchase of the Woo Ranch in spite of what "Giggles" Maddock and John Hellman would try to have you believe. Channel 17 is a great Channel to watch if you want to loose weight or barbecue, but if you want the truth, stick to The Red Rock Review and listen to me tell it like it is.

P.S. This has got to be the dullest column I have ever written, please forgive me, I apologize in advance.
Yours respectfully, Ivan F. Finley

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