Tusayan Mayor dismayed over last week's events
To the editor:
Well it has been an interesting couple of weeks in Tusayan politics. We have had lawsuits, threats of lawsuits, offer of funds to help residents be able to buy a home, national news stories about Tusayan politics and unfortunate quotes by our new Park Superintendent. So much going on for such a small town trying to make a better life for its residents.
Yes, more lawsuits and this time from the Stilo group. Maybe they are tired of being brow beaten or challenged on every turn by incorporation opponents and have decided to fight back. Now Ms. Vail in her letter last week is trying to sound like an incorporation supporter and working to build a town. I find her words and actions confusing to say the least. When you sue to stop incorporation, file petitions to prevent anyone from serving on the town council, work to overturn the opportunity for residents to own their own home, criticize a longtime supporter of Tusayan who is willing to put his own money up to help residents buy a home, and yet through it all, do not present any options using her money or land, I find her words rather hollow. When other landowners have invested substantial funds over the last ten years into housing, what have they put into it? When she criticizes the owners of Camper Village for not putting housing on that land since it is zoned for housing, one has to ask why her family never considered it when they owned the same land for many years. They had plans to do a very similar development of their own as is being planned by Stilo. They are the largest owner of undeveloped land in Tusayan, yet they have produced no plans to provide any residential housing development that give ownership opportunities. Why? Because they understand the higher value of their land if it is used for commercial purposes or leasing rather than used for residential development. I understand and don't fault them for that value protection. I just ask that they allow others to choose a different path that makes home ownership a possibility.
We were dismayed this week to hear our new park Superintendent negatively quoted about Tusayan's development plans. When we heard quotes like, "my worst nightmare" and "it's all about the almighty dollar" in reference to our efforts to provide affordable housing for not only Tusayan, but Park residents as well, we worry about where our community relationship is headed. The National Park Service does have a different mission than our town, yet we need to find ways to work together rather than take very public shots when the other is trying to do something for its constituents. The Town Council is very aware of the environmental concerns of not only the Park Service, but our own residents and neighbors. We put into the development agreement a number of benchmarks that will serve to ensure these concerns are addressed. Water is a key issue and the impacts that potential new wells might have on the aquifers. We wonder why no one mentions the millions of gallons of water that is put into the South Rim aquifer every year from water piped over from Roaring Springs. Far more water is being put into the aquifer than is being taken out, yet this does not seem to be considered in these discussions.
As we look at recent lawsuits filed to stop residents from expressing their views by voting, we feel they should be able to vote, yet should have the correct and legal information on which to make a decision. The courts will have to make that call. We trust our residents to make good decisions when given correct and clear information.
Town of Tusayan