Local News

Aftermath Of Height Referendum Vote

November 16, 2017

Voter rejection of a plan to increase building height limits is not sitting well with Mayor Craig Sanderson. A statement issued after election day expressing disappoitment and linking the issue to the lack of affordable housing.

The Mayor's statement says in part, " The Tusayan Town Council will continue in our quest to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community. We will refocus our efforts in areas that we as a community can agree on. Our goal is to help businesses prosper and improve the sense of security for current and future residents and visitors. It has been seven years since the town incorporated on the promise of affordable housing opportunities and yet today, due to opposition from other agencies, we still have an entire community that lives in company property that we refer to as housing."

Tusayan business leader Clarinda Vail, who led the opposition, notes that Stilo was behind the height increase request. She also notes that Stilo business partner Elling Halvorson, a major employer in Tusayan has not made quality employee housing a priority. In fact, while Vail and other business leaders in Tusayan have built traditional apartment style homes for employees, Halvorson has not.

Vail's statement says in part:, "It is unfortunate, Mayor, that your employer, the largest in Town by far, does have very old housing.  Old trailers, RVs, very small dorm rooms at the Squire.  I do see why your Town Council, all employed by Elling Halvorson, wish they had something else.  Elling Halvorson should put real money into quality affordable housing for his staff.  Like the vast majority of large employers in Tusayan have done. But if the Town will pay millions and millions of dollars to build it for Halvorson/Stilo instead, why would they? "
The full statements from Sanderson and  Vail are in the editorial sections of the Watchdog. 

The height issue made national news with stories appearing in the Arizona Republic and the Washington Post among others.