Local News

General Plan Approved Without Water Source For Stilo Project

March 23, 2014

By Michael Anthony Scerbo

The Tusayan general  plan still does not have the blessing of the Grand Canyon National Park. While some changes have been made to address environmental concerns, the basic premise of the plan, that Stilo's massive development can be accommodated, remains. That conflicts with concerns expressed by the Grand Canyon National park that Stilo has yet to provide a water source and that additonal development will put a strain on the Park itself.

Stilo wants to develope three million square feet of commercial space and add thousands of homes. If that happens the seeps that feed the springs at the Grand Canyon National park and the Havasupai tribe will dry up. The springs pictured here come courtesy of Dr. Robin Silver, with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Martha Hahn, Science and Resource Management Chief for the Grand Canyon National Park, addressed the commission with the federal government’s concerns in February.  Under the general plan Tusayan’s water using would go from 175 acre feet per year to 681 by 2024. Traditional estimates had put Tusayan usage at 250 acre feet per year over the next decade. The Stilo development is what is putting Tusayan way beyond earlier predictions from the North Central Arizona Water Supply Study.

The General plan was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. While some modifications were made, the water problem was not addressed. Hahn told the Watchdog, " The P&Z Committee did incorporate many of the the suggested changes provided by the National Park Service. That said, they did not make the suggested changes to the water allocation issues the NPS has raised throughout the public process."

Tusayan Town manager Will Wright said the Town steered away from adding any language considered to be a limitation or narrowing the scope of what the General Plan was to accomplish.

In February Hahn told the Planning and Zoning Commission, “We have stated several times throughout the approval process that the increase in residents and visitation will have a tremendous negative and possibly irretrievable on the Park infrastructure and resources for which the Park was established.”

As of this time, Stilo  has not or refuses to identify a water source and has not ruled out drilling.