Local News

Environmental Groups Raise Concerns Over Ten-X Site And Housing Foundation

November 22, 2016

 Environmental groups such as Earth Justice and the Center for Biological Diversity have written the Forest Service outlining concerns over the Ten-X property. Both claim Tusayan’s plans for ‘affordable housing’ are linked to the development agreement for potential commercial development on the site.

If a road maintenance agreement is submitted by the Town, Earth Justice believes it would compel commercial development on the Ten-X site.  Here is a portion of that letter:

“Tusayan’s planned residential development (and requested snow removal to cause those dwellings to be accessible and habitable in winter) thus appears to be an attempt to begin piecemeal development of the Ten-X parcel to enable Stilo to complete its massive development. The Forest Service must consider these ultimate environmental consequences of enabling winter access before granting the snow removal permit.”

Earth Justice is seeking an environmental review. Here is a link to that letter.

Tusayan says no application has been submitted and the Town insists the residential project is independent of any commercial development.

Town Manager Eric Duthie said the letter was submitted without any discussion with the council. One of these signing it did meet with town officials after the letter was submitted. He said after that meeting there was, “Less intensity of resistance.”

The Town insists the 20 acres at Ten X is for the purposes of public housing and does not require an easement.

Mayor Craig Sanderson says critics have been, “Making assumptions from a distance.” He encourages critics to come talk to the Council. He wants to help them understand, “We’re not here to destroy the Grand Canyon.”

However there is linkage to the development agreement and the amendments to it. Tusayan is compelled to support Stilo’s commercial development plans as outlined in the second amendment to the development agreement. That provision is outlined in the Warranty Deed which was signed in August. Here is a link.

The Center for Biological Diversity has raised similar concerns. Here is a portion of its letter to the Forest Service:

“The Town of Tusayan's upcoming application for a new "road maintenance agreement" easement across U.S. Forest Service land to their new housing development is nothing more than an attempt at piecemeal circumvention of the March 4, 2016, Forest Service rejection of Tusayan's June 5, 2014, easement application for the massive, Grand Canyon-threatening Tusayan/Stilo development.”

Here is a link to that letter.

In addition to concerns about Ten-X, the Center for Biological Diversity also takes issue with the Tusayan Housing Authority, and the Foundation which would provide additional funding. It raises concerns that funds will be distributed to Stilo advocates as opposed to those who truly need financial assistance. The letter states:

“The Grand Canyon Housing Foundation/Housing Authority of the Town of Tusayan money will be doled out by Tusayan Town Council members, all Halvorson employees. The Town Council members/Halvorson employees will most likely award the money to their relatives and friends and/or other Halvorson employees as the potential town pool of applicants is small in this town of only about 500. The Grand Canyon Housing Foundation/Housing Authority of the Town of Tusayan is nothing more than a scam to further reward Halvorson activist employees for furthering Stilo's developmental designs.”

A follow up letter outlines further allegations claiming the Foundation is not a true charity because it benefits Stilo and its business partner Elling Halvorson. There are also concerns because the Foundation allows those with a household income of up to $250,000 to participate. Here is a link to that letter.

Whether the IRS will examine the Foundation or the Authority remains to be seen.

The letter also addresses claims that Ten-X and future commercial development are indeed linked.

"Stilo accomplishes its desired private benefit by assuring that the "charitable" subsidized housing, for Kotzin, "shall occur only upon the U.S. Forest Service Final Approval."10 For Ten-X, Stilo codifies the supremacy of its desired benefit by assuring "use of the Property shall not exceed twenty (20) single family residential units until such time as housing density on the Property may be increased upon obtaining U.S. Forest Service Final