Local News

Tusayan Declares: Stilo In Default

July 5, 2013

By Michael Anthony Scerbo

An Italian developer’s attempts to initiate a large and controversial development at the doorstep of the Grand Canyon has suffered a critical setback as the Town of Tusayan has declared developer Stilo in default.

At a special July 3rd meeting, the Tusayan town Council declared the developer in default.

Nearly two years ago, Stilo received some very lucrative re-zoning for its holdings in Tusayan. The plans called for three million square feet of commercial space and thousands of new residents.

Stilo promised to identify a water supply and it also pledged to donate 40 acres to the town for affordable housing. Neither promise has been kept.  As a result the Town Council took the dramatic step of declaring Stilo in default and calling for mediation.

After a 50 minute executive session, the council emerged from executive session and Mayor Bryan said, “After extensive discussion with our attorney and getting his advice we have given the attorney direction to provide notice of default to the Stilo Development Group.”

The mayor added, “ And based upon our pre-annexation development agreement and we intend to institute  or begin the process of mediation as the remedy or process of addressing that default and we will set a date for that mediation and should the development group come back with a proposal , we would consider it at that time. But once the mediation date has been set, and we can’t reach agreement by that time then we will go to mediation.”

The Mayor also pledged to provide details of any changes in the agreement at least 24 hours before a public vote.

Stilo’s most visible actions have been unrelated to its promises. It waged a court battle to block a public vote on the development agreement. It threw pizza parties to elicit support from local residents, and Stilo attacked opponents of the development agreement. In addition to getting involved in recent council elections. Stilo also threatened litigation against the lone opponent of the project, Councilman Bill Fitzgerald.

Mayor Bryan said there would have to be another discussion with the Town Attorney if mediation fails, potentially forcing the zoning to revert back to its original status.

Public records show the Council has been trying to get Stilo to donate 20 of the 40 acres it had promised. Because of executive session rules, Mayor Bryan could not comment directly on that issue.  “All I can say is that we were unable to come to a concurrence at this time based upon our negotiations and that’s why we are giving a notice of default,” Bryan said.