Local News

Update:Referendum On Controversial Building Height Issue Hits Snag

June 21, 2017

An election this coming November on the Tusayan town Council’s controversial decision to increase building heights from 35 feet to 65 feet has hit a delay.

Tusayan Town Hall is challenging the petitions and claims the sample shows not enough are valid. A challenge to this decision is expected.

  The height increase, made to accommodate Italian developer Stilo, raised concern among the business community, environmental groups, a former Tusayan Mayor, and the Grand Canyon National Park.

Despite the opposition, the Town Council granted Stilo’s request. The Mayor and the entire Town Council are employed by Stilo business partner Elling Halvorson.

Town Manager Eric Duthie said he is pleased that the Town has a system in place where a protest can be launched. He says it’s important to have due process. Duthie then claimed such a process is not in place within the Forest Service.

That’s the same federal agency that turned down the Town’s request to expand a Forest Service Road to accommodate Stilo after getting tens of thousands of messages in opposition and holding numerous public hearings. To be fair, the Forest Service also turned down the Town’s request to use a small patch of land to accommodate a trailer that would be used for employee housing. Perhaps that was the source of Duthie’s comment about due process.