Competition between existing and new businesses and between residential use of property and employment/industrial use were two topics that prompted debate Thursday at the Green Valley Redevelopment Committee meeting.
The committee recommended designating land east of McLane and south of Aero Drive for employment opportunities.
Town Manager Rich Underkofler and Payson Town Council member Ray Schum argued for rezoning the residential area south of Aero Drive for employment/industrial use. The committee accepted that recommendation. Residential uses would continue, but if the present owners decided to sell, that property could be sold for employment/industrial uses, Underkofler said.
A total of 84 residential units, including 60 mobile homes, 22 single family residences, and two multi-family units, currently take up 47 percent of the land that is part of the proposed employment area.
Along with the decision to designate the employment area, the committee adopted Community Development Director Bob Gould's list of recommendations for the property. The seven recommendations were made to provide some level of protection for nearby residents. They include the following:
- Outside land uses and storage shall be limited to no more than 10 percent of the total land area of the business, excluding parking;
- An eight-foot-high masonry wall will be required between employment use and adjoining residential use;
- Noise from the business shall not exceed more than 60 decibles;
- No business shall emit smoke, dust, fumes or any other airborne particles which affect adjoining land uses;
- A minimum of 20 percent of the total land area shall be landscaped, with at least half of that along the front of the business;
- Sidewalks to maintain pedestrian circulation will be required;
- Business signage shall meet requirements of the Green Valley Redevelopment's Design Review Board.
Underkofler said Friday, "In my view, preserving residential uses in that area is like swimming against the tide. No one, in my opinion, would make a substantial investment in new residential units due to the exisiting industrial uses down there. The trend is clearly going toward more industrial uses of that area."
In other business, a suggestion that the committee restrict business incentives to non-competing businesses failed to get the needed approval.
Sharesse Von Strauss, coordinator of the project, said, "There's a big issue here. If we don't put money into this, why don't we just raze this plan?"
Dick Wolfe, committee chairman, said the committee is looking at sales tax increment financing to attract new businesses to the Green Valley Redevelopment area. "The proposal is to measure all sales tax and take 50 percent of the growth and reinvest it," he said.
Underkofler said that would be one source of funding for the redevelopment initiative. "We are not providing any sales tax rebate, nor are we repealing any sales taxes in the area," he said.
Wolfe said the committee is also looking at low-interest loans for store fronts, affordable housing grants and loans for people who do not qualify for other programs, and money for street improvements.
He told Dr. Adam Kendall, a new business owner who closed on a deal to purchase the Heritage House restaurant today (Friday), that the committee has a first year budget of $113,000 from the town's capital projects fund to work with at this point.
The committee approved a motion to spend up to $2,000 of that money for a land appraisal on property across from the Payson Fire Department station owned by Kaibab Industries that could be used for public parking, a green belt, and a small park along Main Street. It could also be used for a right-of-way for a new street between Main Street and Aero Drive.
Underkofler said Kaibab needs the money from this property to get the loan to build the theater.
Kaibab has offered this land to the town for $200,000 on an installment purchase plan.
A previous plan to use property tax increment financing for funding for the Green Valley Redevelopment project was snuffed out, Underkofler said, when the statute was repealed by the State Legislature due to opposition from the Payson Unified School District.
In his suggestion to the committee, Gould wrote: "Since this statute has been eliminated from any further use, the suggestion was to re-establish the boundaries to include more area."
Gould said that the addition of a number of areas would return the redevelopment project to its original compliance with the Land-Use Plan.
The committee added residential areas south of Wade and east of Colcord, several lots on both the east and west side of the Beeline Highway, west of McLane and Green Valley Park, residential land next to Julia Randall School, and a commercial area east of Colcord to the project's boundaries.
The resolution adopting the revised boundaries and the entire Green Valley Redevelopment Plan is likely to be heard by the Town Council sometime this fall.
On Saturday, July 24, the public is invited to attend a Main Street focus meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Payson Senior Center, 514 Main Street.
Arizona Main Street Project managers from Globe, Show Low and Holbrook will talk about their projects.
Due to limited seating, those who plan to attend are asked to call Von Strauss at 474-8392 by noon, July 23.
The next meeting of the Redevelopment Committee will be at 5:15 p.m., Aug. 19 at the Rim Country Museum.