Prohibition may be coming to Payson in the form of a resolution to ban alcohol in public parks.
The public will get a chance to be heard Thursday when the Town Council has a first reading and public hearing of a resolution to unconditionally ban the sale or use of alcoholic beverages in Green Valley Park.
The resolution also calls for restrictions at Rumsey Park. Residents who are planning weddings, religious ceremonies or political events who want to include alcohol in their events at Rumsey Park will have to get approval from the town's Parks and Recreation Director or another designated person.
Alcohol will be prohibited at all events not sponsored or put on by a town resident.
In a memo to the mayor and Town Council, Town Attorney Sam Streichman said the ordinance would provide for administrative rather than council approval for alcohol at events in Rumsey Park and would totally ban its use at Green Valley Park.
Business license change
The council will also look at a request by Community and Development Director Bob Gould to discuss amending the town code to streamline business license regulations.
Gould said the town now goes through a review process which can be time-consuming. He said he would like an amendment that would let people get their business licenses immediately and a certificate of occupancy after opening. The business would then be reviewed by the town's fire, water, public works, building and planning and zoning departments.
Gould said such an amendment could allow for an appeal process for businesses that are denied and for the establishment of an enforcement program.
In his request to the council, Gould wrote that the town clerk accepted up to 37 business license applications a month in 1998. About half of those completed the process in no more than seven days. However, some of the applications have been in the application process for several years.
Over the past four years, he said the net gain in businesses in town dropped significantly, from 155 businesses in 1995 to 57 in 1998.
He said there are about a dozen businesses in town currently operating without a license. One of these was notified over a year ago. Another 23 business licenses are being held up because of code compliance issues.
The current cost for a business license in Payson is $50 and renewal fees are set at $30. There is currently no fee for obtaining a liquor license. Gould said staff could develop a fee schedule and review the procedures for obtaining a liquor license.
Of 17 communities surveyed, Payson was among seven that currently charge no fees for liquor licenses. Most charged $200 and Avondale's liquor license ranged from $200 to $850.
The council will have a public hearing and possibly take action on a resolution to adopt the Payson Small Area Transportation Study as an amendment to the town's general plan.
In a related matter, the council will consider a request by Town Manager Rich Underkofler to authorize paying $15,000 to ASL Consulting Engineers for a planning and preliminary engineering services contract to ease traffic congestion and enhance the roadway on the South Beeline Highway in conjunction with the Green Valley Development Project.
Underkofler will also ask the council to request a study and a design concept report from the Arizona Department of Transportation for the Highway 260/87 corridor. If the council approves the request, the town will underwrite 40 percent of the cost of the study.
Committee to be appointed
In other business, the council will appoint an ad hoc committee to look at requests for proposals for leasing the town's 36 acres, the proposed site of the new rodeo grounds.
The council meets at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Town Hall Council Chambers.