A proposed leash law for Payson was tabled by the Town Council Thursday night in a 4-3 vote after Round Valley resident Susan Birchak, during a public hearing on the matter, asked to have language in the amended ordinance changed to exclude trails within the town limits.
Birchak raised the issue of how horse and bicycle riders who bring their dogs on trail rides are supposed to keep them on a leash.
Mayor Vern Stiffler and Council members Hoby Herron and Ray Schum voted against tabling the matter.
It was the second reading and public hearing on the amended ordinance, which has the support of Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner and Animal Control officer Bonnie Seim. The proposal calls for dogs to be on a leash when not in their owners' yards.
At its first reading Dec. 10, Council members Ken Murphy and Jack Monschein objected to language that included all animals at large and asked that the ordinance be re-written to pertain to dogs only. Section 6-2-7 of the Town Code was amended to read "Dogs at Large."
Seim told the council that the proposed ordinance is more enforceable than the ordinance which is now in place, which requires only that an owner have control of a dog.
Seim talked about an incident that occurred Wednesday in Payson Ranchos where a black Chow turned on its owner in a savage attack.
"We could have that black Chow three blocks away take a child down," Seim said.
The 18-year-veteran of animal control said she already picks dogs up that are running at large. "But if we had a leash law, it would be more enforceable," Seim said.
As it stands now, the control is one of subjective review, and it's the animal control officer's word against the owner's, she said.
Seim said she had no objection to the ordinance listing some exclusions.
Water impact fee changes
In other business, the council voted 5-2, with Stiffler and Schum dissenting, on a request by Town Manager Rich Underkofler to have the town attorney draft amendments to the Town Code establishing a different method of estimating Equivalent Residential Units (ERUs).
Public Works Director Buzz Walker developed a system that adjusts water impact fee charges to the kind of buildings being constructed.
Stiffler and Schum objected to language in the proposed motion which would allow developers to pay a higher fee if their water use exceeds the estimated amount during peak demand months. Stiffler called the provision "money for water."
Underkofler told the council that negotiations with Wal-Mart for the construction of its Supercenter were bogged down in details over the water development fee.
He said, "We don't have a Wal-Mart start over there because they're saying, 'If we don't keep within the limit for water, what are you going to do to us?'"
Stiffler said he doesn't like to see a single exception like the Wal-Mart project drive the Town Code.
"The people voted for the Wal-Mart zoning," Monschein said. "I would hate for us to sit up here and lose something that the people here voted for overwhelmingly.
"If we keep this up, what we've been doing these last few months, we might not get a Wal-Mart."
Town Attorney Sam Streichman told the council that Wal-Mart officials don't want to put up the funds if they don't know what they're going to have to pay.
Council member Jim Spencer motioned to approve the request and added that in addition to providing for a higher development fee, the amendment conversely provide for a refund if the water during peak demand is less than estimated.