Local News

Forest Service Accepts Application That Paves the Way For Controversial Development Project In Tusayan

October 4, 2020

 The US Forest Service has agreed to consider Stilo’s application for road access that would pave the way for the Italian developer’s controversial development plan that could bring thousands of homes to the area and create almost three million square feet of commercial space. Critics claim it would devastate the fragile environment in an around the Grand Canyon.

The Forest Service “returned” a similar proposal in 2016 after receiving more than 300,000 messages in opposition. The Town and Stilo submitted a modified plan in September 2019 in which Stilo promised to reduce proposed commercial space and pledged not to use groundwater for commercial projects. There is no such promise for the residential component. In January 2020 the Town submitted yet another modified plan which would divert traffic away from the Town Park and make alignments so that the projects would not bypass local businesses. 

Thee acceptance letter references the need for ‘affordable housing’ but does not mention Tusayan’s failed multi-million dollar attempt at “affordable housing” that cost as much as $8 million and produced no homes because a former Town Manager ignored county flood plain rules.

The acceptance letter also expresses concern about the water supply for the massive project. Stilo has yet to provide any details. The same goes for sewer lines.

Here is a link to the letter.

The acceptance letter is just a start of a lengthy process that will include public input and environmental review.

Opposition is expected. Here is how The Grand Canyon Trust described the acceptance:

The Grand Canyon’s busiest gateway is one step closer to being bulldozed by a mega-developer bent on putting profit above the public interest. After years of rejecting a proposal to more than double the size of the town of Tusayan on the doorstep of Grand Canyon National Park, the U.S. Forest Service has said it is ready to discuss options for processing the developer’s application.

The Town of Tusayan issued the following statement:

This week the Town of Tusayan celebrates the decision of the United States Forest Service to accept a road easement proposal submitted earlier this year. The proposal addresses several important town needs, most importantly the critical need for housing for town residents. The acceptance of the proposal will kick off a significant environmental review process which will allow for public participation and we encourage all residents to share their views. We will provide more information about the public participation opportunities when they get closer.

For more information on the application process follow this link.