Local News

Tusayan Under Stilo’s Thumb On Affordable Housing Issue

March 29, 2016

 The Tusayan Town Council is struggling to re-group after the Forest Service returned an application to expand the road to Kotzin. That’s because Stilo has linked the affordable housing issue to its controversial development that would create three million square feet of commercial space and add thousands of new homes to the area.

Stilo pushed its plan despite massive opposition, and despite the fact that it could not come up with a water source.

Before Stilo’s arrival, there was an easily accessible chunk of land that could have been used for residential development, but neither Stilo nor business partner Elling Halvorson had any intention to use the land in that fashion. In fact Stilo successfully convinced the Town Council to rezone the land for commercial use.

At the March 23rd Town Council meeting Mayor Craig Sanderson commented, “Without a road we are stuck in the mud. The agreement with the developer still has an obligation to pursue the Forest Service easement. That hasn’t changed. However, we are waiting for more direction from developer, they are just as shocked and surprised as we are. They are trying to determine what their recommendation is for us to move forward.”

Town Manager Eric Duthie pointed out the application was not rejected or denied, it was returned. That means there is no appeals process.

We spoke to Mayor Sanderson after the meeting. There is land available at the more accessible Ten-X site, but he says swapping that land for the Kotzin acreage is up to Stilo.

Sanderson does not think a swap involving Camper Village is possible, “I would not contemplate that Camper Village would be a good option. Personally, I don’t see that happening. I think from a commercial standpoint it has too much value to them (Stilo).”

Stilo has yet to announce what its next steps may be, but if it is truly concerned about affordable housing, Stilo and business partner Elling Halvorson have options. The question is will they exercise those options.

Since incorporation, the housing landscape has changed. The operators of Red Feather, Canyon Plaza, and others have constructed quality employee housing. Elling Halvorson has not.