Local News

Another Stilo Setback

November 15, 2013

By Mike Scerbo

Italian developer Stilo lost another round in its bid to create three million square feet of commercial space in the environmentally fragile area just south of the Grand Canyon National Park. It wants a better deal for breaking its word and the Tusayan Town Council isn’t willing to do that…..yet.

The developer is in default of its zoning agreement because it failed to deliver 40 acres for affordable housing and a water supply. Stilo countered by promising to deliver the land if the Town permanently abandons any major oversight as to how the land is developed. It’s called vested zoning and it’s rarely done.

At its November 13 meeting the Town Council held off on amending the development agreement. In another stunning development, the Town Council issues a stop work order on temporary housing at Camper Village which is overseen by Stilo. It seems Stilo was not going through the proper approval process (And these folks want to develop hundreds of acres in Tusayan?). In addition the housing is just plain unattractive. The existing housing will remain occupied, giving Stilo the opportunity to stuff ballot boxes when local elections come around.

Another stunning revelation to come out of the meeting, there is no current site plan for the Camper Village parcel.
It was also discovered that Stilo has yet to recognize that they have to operate under the authority of the South Grand Canyon Sanitary District. The District’s Bob Petzoldt says Stilo seems to have ‘tip-toed’ that fact.

Testimony against the Stilo plan included the Sierra Club and David Uberuaga, Superintendent of the Grand Canyon National Park. He noted that the scope and scale of the development are out of proportion to the town and a development of this scale should be done incrementally.

The Sierra Clubs’s Alicyn Gitlin tod the council there is still no plan to get water for the project and she said the same groups that opposed Stilo’s attempts to get water will do so again, given the disastrous impact the development would have on groundwater supplies that feed the Grand Canyon National Park and the Havasupai Indian Community.

It was also brought to the Council’s attention that permanent vested zoning is never done in Arizona. It has the impact of permanently preventing this Town Council, or any future Town Council, of having any major input on development of the land.

The bottom line is that Tusayan would be selling its soul for 40 acres.

After hearing all of that public input, the Town Council went into executive session, after which they decided to delay making a decision on giving Stilo a sweetheart deal. A new vote could come as soon as Wednesday November 20th.