804 The Question Is.... Proposed Payson Development.

Comments

Tom Garrett 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Did you read the article about the proposed new development between Walmart and North McLane? Here's a thumbnail for you:

Two existing roads will have to be extended. If you look at a map, or go to Google maps, you'll see them. They lie between North McLane and 87/260, and have to be extended to give access to the new housing area. Obviously, there will have to be other streets laid to accommodate the homes themselves. I'll describe the plan to give you an idea of where, and what, it encompasses.

West Rumsey Drive, which is directly across from the east turn into the Library on North Mclane, but ends 200 feet later at Barbara Way, will "become a through street to Walmart." Whether it will connect with Malibu Drive, which is the turn into Walmart across from the Payson Police Department, or whether it will come out in a separate location was not clear in the article, but either way it will provide a way for residents on or near North McLane to get to 87/260 near Walmart.

For those residents this would be instead of a left turn off McLane onto Longhorn, a left turn through the lights at the 260/87 intersection onto 87/260, and another left turn at the light by Walmart. Since the only other place where nearby McLane area residents can now reach 87/260 is West Forest Drive, which is eight tenths of mile north of Longhorn, it appears likely that the newly extended West Rumsey would be well used. The plan allows for that, as you will see.

The other existing road that will change is North Forest Park Drive which is the first left turn off Longhorn if you are driving from the high school toward the 87/260 intersection. North Forest Park now dead ends and will "also go through." I suppose that means it will "go through" to the new housing area. It appears unlikely that it would be used by anyone other than those living in the new housing.

The development will create 150 new homes for Payson. The plan is to built three more-or-less separate areas, each of relatively modest homes about the size of those already in the area, which means that the new development meets current zoning requirements.

The southern portion of the development would be composed of 1,400 to 1,800 square foot duplexes and quadraplexes. Its center would be town homes up to 1,600 square feet, mostly along Rumsey Drive, but with driveway access via an alley rather than on the no-doubt busier Rumsey. The north portion would be single family homes in the 1,350 to 2,000 foot range.

The developer says that about two thirds of the mix of trees currently on the property will be left standing. He adds that there will be open spaces, small parks, bike lanes, and sidewalks.

The Question Is dual....

Does the plan fits the needs of Payson, and what gains and losses will occur if it goes into effect as planned?

Now is the time to make your voice heard regarding the pros or cons as you see them.

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Pat Randall 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, There was a development approved there about 5 years ago and then all the building stopped. It isn't a new thing . If the town approved one that long ago I don't think they will stop it now. It would be great to have those two streets put thru to the highway.

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Tom Garrett 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think you're right, Pat. I think it would be a blessing to the people on McLane if they had some way to shunt some of the traffic that runs by their homes onto a pair of outlets other than Longhorn. Of course, I don't live there, so I'll wait to hear from people who do.

What do you think about the size of the houses? To my way of thinking, Payson does not have anywhere near the number of houses in that size and price range that it needs. There has been a lot of building at the high end, but nothing much lately in the mid-range.

I also thought that whoever did the planning was pretty doggone smart when he decided to put the driveway access off the main road. It's too bad that wasn't done on McLane near Longhorn. Think of how nice it would be if people living in that section could get in their cars and leave by an alley that exits onto a street that feeds onto Longorn. That would make a big difference to the people who live there.

Come to think of it, I wonder if the plan could be amended to do something like that for existing housing along McLane. It would be a blessing, but someone would have to push for it, the cost could not be too much, and it would be pointless if there isn't room behind those houses for driveways. Just a thought.

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Pat Randall 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, McLane was the original highway to Pine. At one time the event center was where the library is now. I believe it was given to the town. I don't feel a bit sorry for the people out there they started moving in and that is the reason the event center was moved and died. It would probably cost each home owner about $10,000 to have an alley put it and they would still have traffic on it. My car has been hit twice in the last month. Once by a car backing out of Carl's Jr and the other one at Walgreens. That one the man had to back way across the parking lot and hit the side of my fender. Don't know what his problem was. We weren't even out of the parking slot. Private property so I pay for my own damage. Life's a b---- at times.

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Tom Garrett 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I came into Payson on McLane, but just once years ago. Don't remember a thing about it except that it was steep in one place.

I've noticed that problem at Walgreens. I don't know why it is, but people seem to back up way too far before they turn their wheels. That's why they cross the lot. If they did that at Walmart they'd run clean over the cars on the opposite side.

Why do you have to pay for the damage when someone hit you?

"It would probably cost each home owner about $10,000 to have an alley put it and they would still have traffic on it."

Ib said that before I went on Google and looked at the area carefully. There is no possible way for an alley to be created. The houses are far too close together for it.

The real trouble with the housing on the west side of McLane in the area a block or two around Longhorn is that someone let builders get away with building driveways on the high side of the road that are not suitable for a main road. How can anyone back down a steep driveway onto a main road? Some of them have stuccoed block walls on either side of the driveway that make it impossible to see either way. And a lot of the fancy landscaping was done with no thought of getting safely out on the road.

It's the same thing that's wrong with the businesses on South 87. They are dying on the vine because you don't dare to back out of one of them.

I see that some of the home owners have very sensibly done what I did out front of my place even though it will never have much traffic on it. I created turn around room, and added a circular drive as well. Visitors can drive right in and out with no problem, and under normal circumstances I have a choice between backing out and just turning around and driving out. If I lived in that area of McLane I'd be doing the same thing. You'd lose a little landscaping, but it would be better than trying to get out onto the road.

Anyway, as to the development, it seems sensible. I've been wondering when someone would build on that area. And a road that would siphon off some of the traffic through the Longhorn/McLane intersection would be a good thing.

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Tom Garrett 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I noticed that some of the residents on North Forest Park aren't too happy about changing their dead end street for one that goes through, but at the same time I noticed that they were complaining how hard it is to get out of their road onto Longhorn. I presume the problem was primarily when they were trying to make a left turn.

I wonder? Since they will now be able to exit via Rumsey to 87/260, or to exit onto McLane if they are going somewhere else, I wonder if they will enjoy a net loss or gain?

What do you think?

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Pat Randall 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, If all those people living in the area won the lottery they would complain because they had to pay taxes on it. !!!!

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Pat Randall 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Didn't these people have their eyes open when they bought a house on McLane, or anywhere else in town? I don't think there is a person living in Payson that isn't complaining about something. I looked around at all three of the houses I have bought here. Had to back down a steep driveway on one. Then drive down a hill that had at least a 100 ft drop off to no where, Fun in the snow. One was on a dead end street and we still had at least 20 cars a day turning around in front of our house as we were the last house on the street. In a subdivision now that is used as a short cut from McLane and Longhorn to Main st. on to the west. So what? Every body has to be somewhere. Like I said three highways out of Payson.

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Tom Garrett 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I'll say one thing: Payson just grew; it was not planned. But then that's the way most rural towns are. They follow the lay of the land, with people building where they can find a piece of property that is level, treeless, has water near the surface, and can handle some kind of septic system.

The problems come in when the town allows something like McLane to happen. I too the time to drive through some of the streets of that development. It should never have been allowed. Someone didn't do his job. If there were no one driving on that road except the people who live there it would be dangerous. It would be different if the houses had been laid out in the era before vehicles. That would be understandable.

I just hope that the new development hooks up to some of the inner streets in the area and gives people a safer way out.

"Like I said three highways out of Payson."

Payson has a chance for a safe and sane solution to its problems — a bypass going from 87 before the reservation to 260 far beyond Star Valley. That's where most of the traffic passing through town goes. Payson can never become a safe place to drive, or a happy place to live until that through traffic is siphoned off central Payson roads. Once that's done, the next step is another bypass, entering the forest southwest of Payson and coming out well past Strawberry.

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Ronald Hamric 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think that I have been reading Pat too long ;-). I am actually starting to think along the very lines she does and that's spooky since we have never actually met each other. Like Pat, I and many others sense that some that come to this area/region, and any other like ones for that matter, are coming here to get away from the unbridled growth that made their previous places unbearable for all the obvious reasons. The reality however is that one really needs to do their research before relocating to a supposedly "no growth or slow growth" town. Simply look at the presence of agricultural or vacant land/lots and it is very easy to determine the probability of future growth. One can also ask for a copy of a towns "Master Plan" that lays out the expected future growth and street and road infrastructure. Those that do not take the time to look into those matters before making their choice of relocating, then should be given little credence when they start complaining about "growth/change".

I lived in Orange County California for 37 years and watched it grow from a relatively rural, agricultural, ranching environment, into a mirror image of Los Angeles County. When I chose to locate to Pine, I had already determined that this little hamlet did not have the same potential for what I ran away from in California. Surrounded by National Forest ( and yes Pat, I am totally aware of the potential for Forest Service Land Swaps), very limited water supply, and practically no attraction to large industry or even shopping centers. The same cannot be said for Payson. For towns like Payson, it is grow and develop or perish. If folks who have moved there did not appreciate that reality, shame on them.

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Pat Randall 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Ron, Glad to see you are shaping up. :-) There is a big problem, the town keeps changing the Master Plan.

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Tom Garrett 6 months, 3 weeks ago

"I am totally aware of the potential for Forest Service Land Swaps"

Fortunately, that potential has dropped dramatically over the past 30 years because of all the %$#@! dumb swaps they've already made trying to consolidate their ownership of wild America so they could fence it off.

" For towns like Payson, it is grow and develop or perish. If folks who have moved there did not appreciate that reality, shame on them."

I certainly agree with the second part of that comment. Do your homework. I did! And I had to a lot of it from thousands of miles away.

But I wonder about the first part. I've seen a LOT of small towns about the size of what Payson is now that are just doing great as what Payson basically is — retirement communities. Others that I've seen were college communities. Both types, with guaranteed, recession-proof anchors don't seem to need to grow at all. I wonder if Payson has ever considered the idea of just staying small and enjoying life?

PS: Some of the towns I am talking about are ones that were on Route 66 and were bypassed by I-40 et al.

Talking about that, we once turned aside and drove to a town called McLean while driving through Texas. Talk about being handed lemons and making lemonade! McLean was already losing population because of Amarillo, so when Route 66 was rerouted it touted itself as part of the historic Route 66. You should see the place. Seems to be doing very well, but without all the problems that growth bring with it.

"There is a big problem, the town keeps changing the Master Plan."

My! My! I would never have guessed. :-)

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Pat Randall 6 months, 2 weeks ago

You wouldn't believe all that goes on that isn't public knowledge unless you dig for it. Some have disappeared, like an old town master plan map that I wanted to buy several yrs. ago. Couldn't be found. I had bought one before but made the mistake of loaning it to someone and never got it back.

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don evans 6 months, 2 weeks ago

FYI: The latest Payson General Plan Update 2014-2024 can be seen online at>>>> http://www.paysonaz.gov/Departments/CommunityDev/general-plan.html

It has many color maps to look at for most future plans for the Town. Some quick one's for you to look at are "Land Use Designations" on Pg. 69 "Projected Growth Area's" Pg. 84
"Roadway Designations and Routes" Pg. 95

Bike routes, walking trails, future parks etc. are also included. The whole document is 143 pages in PDF format for your computer. I suppose if on wanted to, you can print the whole thing out for free on your printer. (also in color if you have a color printer) The Town paid a lot of money for this. It makes for an interesting look. You might find some surprise you didn't know was coming or proposed.

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Pat Randall 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Have you noticed anything the town does or wants information on they have to hire some high dollar person from out of town to tell them what to do? They usually stick the information in a back cupboard and nothing is done with the information. What are we paying the employees to do. If they aren't qualified to do these studies, get rid of them. Another opinion. (:

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Tom Garrett 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Pat,

I'm inclined to think as you do on this subject.

In civilian life, after I left the Air Force, though not before, I was lucky enough to never have to run anything except myself. I had to be a little sneaky to stay in that hog-heaven. Back in Texas I had to walk a tightrope to get turned down for an administrative job I didn't want without making anyone angry about it. It was a tough thing to do. I finally wiggled out of it by dropping just the slightest hint that I might have more loyalty to my old school than the one I was going to. That worked. :-)

I ran my classroom and stayed out of anything else, and when I went down to the Instructional Technology Department in Mesa, and had to serve many schools I did just that — I served them.

In the Air Force it was different. For over 90% of my career I ran some department, and I would have been mad as hell if they had brought in someone to tell me how to do it instead of at least letting me take a shot at it. I guess civilian life is different. As then French say (I have French on my mind today, as you'll see if you read a different post) vive la difference!!

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Tom Garrett 6 months, 2 weeks ago

This has been an interesting discussion. Missing, though, are comments from the people who live in the area. The comments of those who are directly involved in something, especially changes in or near homes, are always important. Sometimes you and I don't see all there is to see.

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Tom Garrett 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, we now have some comments from people who live in the area: The people living on North Forest Park Drive. Their comments are easy to understand, but predictable. They live on a dead end street and don't want added traffic.

I can relate to that, but looking at the access in and out of that proposed development I think it is a make or break requirement. One glance and you can see that if North Forest Park is not opened to allow access the plan is not safe. A single road in and out is inadequate for the number of homes. Obviously, the planners saw that, and that's why they included access through North Forest Park.

I invite Ron to look at the map, and tell us whether or not, as an expert in fire safety, he would approve that development with just one road in and out. Fire safety means thinking ahead. To be honest I'd like to see both North Forest Park opened and an additional connecting road on the north side.

I sat on the board of a town home development and got educated. It makes you think when you start talking about the room needed to accommodate fire engines; they are not toys. I fail to see how the development can be approved without an exit to Longhorn. Also, if the worry about added traffic isn't overblown then the correct answer is to add both North Forest Park and an additional access road.

There is something else wrong with the plan. I was amazed to see that the town council not only missed it, but actually commented favorably on approving a housing area with a built-in fire hazard at the same time it is thinking in terms of fire-safe building codes.

Quote: "The company also plans to save 75 percent of the trees on the sire, which includes several old stands of ponderosa pines."

Why create a housing division which is a potential wildfire? This is not 1814 or 1914 when people had yet to see what happens when pines ignite; this is 2014, a time when we know — because we have seen it so many times — how impossible it is to stop a fire once it gets into pines.

What sense does it make for Payson to be adopting a fire-safe building policy while approving a fire-prone housing area? Want some trees? Plant native deciduous trees that do well in this bone dry mountain desert climate, but which do not burn. Come on out to my place and I'll show you 20 of them standing proud, tall, and fire resistant within 100 feet of my home. They provide every bit as much privacy, shade, and beauty — and the fire safety is free.

And ask yourself this: What will it cost to make the new development fire safe by ensuring good fire and police access, and by replacing the pines and junipers? Will each new home cost more? No! Will it raise insurance rates? No! Will the result any less beautiful? No! Will it provide less shade? No!

But build it with limited access and keep the pines and junipers....?

Unbelievable!

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Ronald Hamric 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Tom, You are right on two specific issues. The resistance by the homeowners is predictable. It's oft referred to as NIMBY (Not in My Backyard). In all honesty, had I bought on Forest I would probably be right there with them. But alas, some folks will have to share the downsides to providing improved travel throughout this town. I don't imagine those folks that are protesting cared much for the concerns of those in other neighborhoods who happen to live on streets and roads that they avail themselves of use. It's okay if major connecting arteries go through their neighborhoods, just not ours.

As to the other point, as I would have surmised, both the Fire Chief and the Police Chief recognize the benefit to emergency response access for many of Payson's other citizens, even though it might be detrimental to the "quietness" of those living on those streets. As with many things of this sort," you're damned if you do, damned if you don't"!

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Kim Chittick 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I am going to chime in here; as I live in the area of West Forest Drive. The comment that opening up Malibu all the way to McLane would be a Godsend is a fact! I was at the library the other day and needed to make a quick run to WalMart and back to the library. Having to go south to Longhorn, then north on Beeline to WalMart and back, was kind of a pain. Furthermore, these people who are concerned that opening up their dead end streets will result in more traffic, perhaps that is so, however, they must not be home much, otherwise they would see all of the vehicles that come down a dead end street and then have the difficult task of getting back out. For cars or small trucks, not a problem. However, at least once or twice a year, a huge motorhome, towing a car or suv, comes down our cul de sac, and gets stuck, Thereby having to park in the middle of the street, unhook the towed vehicle, get it off the street, and then very carefully maneuver the motorhome backwards the entire block out. At first we had visions of trying to help them, now, it is just entertaining. I mean, it is not like our street is so long they cannot see that it is a cul de sac, before they complete the turn onto the street.

As Ron pointed out, this is definitely a case of NIMBY. They all want the convenience, but none want to be inconvenienced. Just wait until someone in Forest Park needs emergency services and the emergency vehicles can't get through or are delayed.

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Kim Chittick 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I am going to chime in here; as I live in the area of West Forest Drive. The comment that opening up Malibu all the way to McLane would be a Godsend is a fact! I was at the library the other day and needed to make a quick run to WalMart and back to the library. Having to go south to Longhorn, then north on Beeline to WalMart and back, was kind of a pain. Furthermore, these people who are concerned that opening up their dead end streets will result in more traffic, perhaps that is so, however, they must not be home much, otherwise they would see all of the vehicles that come down a dead end street and then have the difficult task of getting back out. For cars or small trucks, not a problem. However, at least once or twice a year, a huge motorhome, towing a car or suv, comes down our cul de sac, and gets stuck, Thereby having to park in the middle of the street, unhook the towed vehicle, get it off the street, and then very carefully maneuver the motorhome backwards the entire block out. At first we had visions of trying to help them, now, it is just entertaining. I mean, it is not like our street is so long they cannot see that it is a cul de sac, before they complete the turn onto the street.

As Ron pointed out, this is definitely a case of NIMBY. They all want the convenience, but none want to be inconvenienced. Just wait until someone in Forest Park needs emergency services and the emergency vehicles can't get through or are delayed.

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Ronald Hamric 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Kim, It's not as if we all don't understand their reluctance and unhappiness with what's being proposed, but that "progress". Wonder how many folks that are against the road plan are proponents of more growth in Payson. One can't have it both ways. If the university ever becomes a reality, things are really going to change for Payson. Folks better get used to it. I don't know if you noticed the increase in traffic today on 87 due to the accident that closed N/bound I-17, but I think what we saw today will be the trend for the future.

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Tom Garrett 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Kim, Ron, I agree with both of you.

I also agree that it might be hard for people to give up the good things about a dead end street, but if you look at the map you'll see that the people who bought there had to have know that the wooded area at the end of their street would be developed someday. It was inevitable. No choice piece of property right in the middle of Payson was going to lie fallow forever. It would be different if they had bought on a road that ended in the national forest, but buying where they bought? A blind man would have known that the street was going to be put through someday.

Also, I wondered if perhaps they weren't already getting a lot of foot traffic from the high school. And I wondered if some people living over in that general area wouldn't actually prefer that Tonto Street go through as well. These two comments, made right under the article, show that to be a fact. They were both made yesterday:

"Meria Heller

"Tonto isn't a huge "industrial" area, what's there? 4 shops? Besides it has better visibility onto Longhorn without taking our kids lives in their hands trying to cross Longhorn which doesn't have a "school crossing" area. Two exits are more than enough for those willing to live behind Walmart. Let's face it they will be the biggest beneficiary of this complex."

"H. Wm. Rhea

"Meria, they may have to add a "school crossing" area there. And believe it or not, lots of kids cross there and walk up that street and then over through the trees to Walmart anyway. So what this will do is give them a better way to get where they're already going.

I say put Tonto street through as well. A few more exits out of Walmart can't hurt."

Interesting, isn't it?

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