Local News

Environmental And Preservation Groups Urge Forest Service To Reject Italian Developer’s Application

November 1, 2019

 The Sierra Club, The Grand Canyon Trust, The Center for Biological Diversity, and the National Parks Conservation Association have sent a joint statement to the Forest Service urging the rejection of a land use authorization that would allow Italian developer Stilo to move ahead with a massive land use plan that would potentially build thousands of homes and about 1.7 million square feet of commercial space on land at the doorstep if the Grand Canyon National Park.

The plan is almost identical to a proposal that had previously been tossed out by the Forrest Service in 2016. In September Stilo, with the help of the Town of Tusayan, filed another application. 

The letter claims Stilo has not provided proof it can develope the commercial aspect without pumping groundwater nor can it come up with a plan to provide water for hundreds if not thousands of new homes.

The letter also points out that that the Town of Tusayan has a poor track record of compliance noting that nearly a million dollars of town funds were wasted when the town ignored Coconino County flood plain rules as it attempted to start its ‘affordable housing’ project involving just 20 homes.

Aside from water issues, the letter says the Stilo request would do serious harm to the area and the Grand Canyon National Park.

The letter states in part, “In addition to groundwater-related impacts, the easement-enabled developments would brighten the Park’s strikingly dark skies, particularly on the higher-elevation North Rim. The increased visitation to the Park would degrade visitors’ experience and stress the Park’s aging infrastructure. Dramatically increased traffic would degrade air quality in the Park and the Kaibab National Forest and negatively affect wildlife. The development on the inholdings would fragment important wildlife habitat and interfere with fawning grounds. And, as the Havasupai and Hopi have stressed, the up-to-8,000 new residents and untold numbers of additional tourists could irreparably damage Red Butte and the Tribes’ traditional beliefs and way of life. Plus, the Town’s recent track record of knowingly violating public safety laws by constructing homes in TenX’s floodplain is nothing short of alarming and reflects a disregard for the area’s fragile environment.” 

For a complete copy of the letter click here.

The Hopi and the Havasupai Tribes have also written letters of oppostion because of the threats it poses to water supplies and Stilo's inability to identify a viable water source.

And the Sierra Club issued a news release in October . Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter director said, “The proposal is neither new nor improved. The developer wants to build 1.8 million square feet of commercial development. While pledging they won’t use groundwater for the commercial projects, they make no such claim for residential. And they are not are not disclosing how many residential units they will build, nor where they will get the water for those residential units. This would be a disaster for the area surrounding Grand Canyon and a tragedy for future generations everywhere.”