By Naomi Hatch
Members of the Snowflake Town Council determined last week that the town was unable to maintain Snowflake Heights Blvd. until residents bring it up to standards.
Approximately six residents from Snowflake Heights were in attendance at the Sept. 10 Snowflake Town Council meeting to discuss maintenance of their road. This item was not on the agenda, so Mayor Kelly Willis requested that it be placed on the council’s Sept. 24 agenda for discussion.
At the Sept. 10 meeting residents said they had talked to Town Manager Paul Watson and Public Works Director Terry Cooper, who advised them that they would need to form a road district and bring the road up to standards.
Speaking for the group, Mark Kyser said that he checked on the price, which would cost property owners $10,000 a year for 10 years.
At the Sept. 24 council meeting, no one from Snowflake Heights was present.
Cooper gave a brief history of Snowflake Heights Blvd. road maintenance and annexation.
The land was annexed in 1982 with Ordinance 52. Section 1 of the ordinance identified sections annexed and Section 3 states, “However, no avenues, streets, alleys or lanes shall be maintained or accepted for maintenance by the Town of Snowflake until each alley, lane, street or avenue is brought up to specifications as defined in the town code, and until pursuant thereto.”
The town code regarding maintenance of roads states that the road must be “constructed without cost to the town to meet the minimum Navajo County construction standards and the minimum standards as set forth in this title.”
Cooper said that following the annexation, land splits were done in 1987, with each split being larger than 36 acres, which under the law avoided the subdivision requirements. Since that time there have been even more splits.
The road from the cattle guard to the highway is double chip sealed, the first 1.4 miles of dirt road belongs to the Town of Snowflake and the other four miles of dirt road belongs to Navajo County.
“Current conditions aren’t good out there,” said Cooper who showed pictures taken the previous day that included standing water. He explained that there is not material that a motor grader could work with, and that even if they could pull some of the material up, it wouldn’t last long.
“You’re telling us there’s nothing out there worth using,” said Mayor Kelly Willis.
Cooper explained that there is no material that will hold, even the traffic would blow it away, noting, “We’d like to help but…”
Cooper said that the cost estimates given by Kyser at the previous meeting were exaggerated. He explained that staff had priced an asphalt surface at $49.41 per foot per side and a gravel surface at $29.59 per foot per side, and it would cost residents approximately $2,000 per year, not $10,000, as Kyser reported at the previous meeting.
In the 1.4 miles, there are four areas where water has to cross the road, so it’s a little more complicated than just digging a bar ditch as Kyser had requested, Cooper said.
Mayor Willis asked if there was a representative present and there was not. “I expected them to be here,” he said and asked if Cooper had been in contact with them.
Cooper said that two of them called town hall and he had responded by email to them, but didn’t get a response back.
Tisha Feemster was present with the Young Marines and commented that there is nowhere for the water to go from the road because residents’ property is about three feet higher than the road.
Cooper said that the other possibility is to start drainage improvements, which would be accomplished easier, noting, “If they (residents) were to do the drainage and get acquisitions of drainage easements, we could maintain the drainage.”
“You have 20 people complaining that the road is (bad), but you have 50 people out there that use the road too that are in the county,” said Feemster.
“They’re not here this evening, so we can’t hear their feelings,” said the mayor.
A motion stating that the council understands residents of Snowflake Heights that live on Snowflake Heights Blvd. have issues, but based on policies and conditions, under which that was accepted, the town is unable to maintain the road until residents bring it up to standard of the town code and the ordinance passed unanimously.
In other business, Lynn Johnson volunteered to be on the Snowflake Heritage Foundation Board and Stuart Hensley on the Snowflake Academy Foundation Board. Kerry Ballard serves on the Community Values Committee, with Bev Kay as alternate; Johnson, the Historic Review Committee; and Willis, Northern Arizona Council of Governments Committee, with Vice Mayor Jason Whiting as alternate. Other committee positions are by appointment only, with Watson appointed to the Economic Development Committee by the NACOG Committee. Tom Poscharsky serves on the Silver Creek Senior Center Board, and Ballard and Poscharsky on the Snowflake Fire Review Committee.
There was brief discussion on the Snowflake Economic Development Council (SEDC), because the bylaws state only two council members serve on this council. Currently Ballard, Poscharsky and Whiting are serving and all are interested in staying on it. It was suggested that the SEDC consider revising the bylaws to allow not more than three council members serve. This will be taken to the SEDC and approved by the town council.
Mayor Willis said he felt Hensley would be good on this council.
Whiting responded, “Who are you going to pull off if everybody wants to stay on there?”
“I feel good about all three of them staying on,” said the mayor.
The mayor’s motion to accept the assignments made to the various committees passed unanimously.
By Naomi Hatch