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Sedona 'safe' parking for workers living in cars could go to voters

The city of Sedona, Ariz. as seen from the Airport Mesa Loop Trail.
Joseph Gedeon
The city of Sedona, Ariz. as seen from the Airport Mesa Loop Trail.

Sedona residents have started the process to force a referendum over the city council’s recent decision to set up a “safe place to park” for unhoused workers.

The ordinance change was approved Tuesday and would permit full-time workers to sleep in their cars in the parking lot of the Sedona Cultural Park. Council members described the option as a "last resort" as the city faces an ongoing housing crisis.

The Safe Place to Park program will only be available to those employed full-time within city limits and exclude seasonal workers or those who voluntarily choose to live in their vehicle. Campers will be required to work with local social services with an end goal to secure permanent housing.

The initiative has faced pushback from some Sedona residents, primarily due to its location at the park.

However, the issue could go to the voters first before it is ever implemented. Frustrated residents filed a referendum application with the city clerk Thursday. They need 579 valid signatures from registered voters in Coconino and Yavapai counties before April 11 to force a public vote. If that happens, the issue will appear on the November election ballot.

Sedona Mayor Scott Jablow told the Verde Valley Independent the project will remain on hold because they don’t want to spend any of the grant money if the referendum does stop the project.