Local News

Tusayan Walks Away From Costly Floodplain Battle

February 15, 2019

 The Tusayan Town Council has voted to rescind its floodplain ordinance which would have shifted authority over floodplain matters from Coconino County to Tusayan.

When the issue was challenged with a referendum and after the signatures were validated, the Town should have returned jurisdiction to Coconino County. It didn’t. Instead it continued work on the Ten X project without legal oversight. That’s against the law.

That decision proved very expensive for Tusayan. It will have to spend and has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make restorations needed to satisfy Coconino County floodplain rules that are in place to protect people and property.

An injunction which resolved a lawsuit has Tusayan agreeing to follow the rules. It also claims the work that had been done at the site was problematic at best.

The injunction states, “The work already done by the Town at the Subject Property has diverted, retarded, and or obstructed the flow of waters within the Watercourses and Floodplain located within the Subject Property.”

This apparently goes beyond a jurisdictional turf battle. The injunction says public safety was also at stake, “The failure to provide sufficiently comprehensive and reliable data and analysis with regard to the Development Work being performed by the Town at the Subject Property poses a potential public safety risk.”

Here is a link to the injunction.

In January and February Tusayan paid Premiere Builders, the construction company for Ten X project, in excess of $700,000. Most if not all of that is to make needed remediation and comply with Coconino County Flood Control District rules.

The decision does not end or prevent construction at Ten X. It just requires the construction be done in a manner that doesn’t create a flood danger. And it requires the Town to seek appropriate approval from the County to make sure that happens.

Coconino County has the resources and staff to take over floodplain duties and the Town has promised to follow their rules.

The vote to rescind the floodplain ordinance was unanimous. Vice Mayor Brady Harris, who took office AFTER the Town broke numerous rules, called the decision to rescind, “A move in the right direction.”