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Monday, June 12, 2017

Local Businesses Fear Threats To Grand Canyon Continue To Pile Up: Nearby Town Of Tusayan Doubles Building Heights At the Doorstep Of The Grand Canyon National Park

Above, the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last year, when I visited Grand Canyon National Park and drove through nearby Tusayan, I was shocked to see how big the town has grown since I was last there around 1990.

I received the following press release concerning building height increases in Tusayan.

SOURCE: Red Feather Properties
GRAND CANYON, Ariz., June 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Grand Canyon runs the risk of transitioning from a national park to a national tragedy as another environmental threat has emerged. As the Navajo Tribal Council considers a controversial six mile gondola style tram along with commercial and retail space at the Canyon, the nearby Town of Tusayan has nearly doubled building heights in a move that would drastically change the landscape near the Grand Canyon National Park, according to Red Feather Properties, which owns and operates the Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan and owns a number of commercial properties in Tusayan. 
The Town of Tusayan borders the southern edge of the Grand Canyon National Park and its town council has voted to grant a developer's request to raise maximum building height limits in Tusayan from 35 to 65 feet, clearing the way for five and six story buildings to be erected at the doorstep of the Grand Canyon. 
Prior to the decision, The National Parks Service sent Tusayan a letter expressing concern about the dark skies, water usage, and visitor capacity at the Grand Canyon National Park. 
The letter stated in part, "The importance of sustainable building, water conservation, night sky protection and visitor use capacities are of critical importance as we move into the next century of park preservation and management and we value collaboration with the Town on its planning and zoning initiatives." 
Local business leaders, a former Tusayan Mayor, and the Sierra Club also opposed the height increase which was unanimously approved by the Tusayan Town Council. 
A group of Tusayan residents has filed a petition to place the height increase decision on the ballot. An election date has not yet been sent. 
Italian developer, Stilo, asked for the height increase. Stilo is planning a controversial development in Tusayan which includes three million square feet of commercial space and thousands of new homes. The Mayor and all members of the Tusayan Town Council are employed by Stilo business partner Elling Halvorson. 
Local businesswoman and Red Feather Properties Manager Clarinda Vail is leading the effort to overturn the decision to nearly double building heights. She said, "Not in recent memory has the Grand Canyon been so threatened. Irresponsible development will create irreversible environmental damage. It may increase some nearby property values, mine included, but it will devalue the Grand Canyon to the point where its scenery, and pristine wide open spaces would be forever lost." 
Red Feather Properties owns and operates the Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan and owns a number of commercial properties in Tusayan and has been serving tourists in Northern Arizona for nearly a century.Tusayan is adjacent to the South Rim bordering the Grand Canyon National Park. 
Paid for by Grand Canyon Not Grand High Rises Political Action Committee

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