After approving a new 76-room hotel on the southwest corner of Highway 87 and Longhorn Road, the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission walloped a proposed batting cage and video arcade project back to the drawing board at its Dec. 4 meeting at Town Hall.
While the town's community development staff recommended approval of both projects, the commission questioned whether the Airline Road entrance to the batting range was far enough off the Beeline to avoid additional congestion at that intersection. The batting cages would be located on the southeast corner of an intersection that is already quite busy, according to Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Ruth Craig.
"Except for the access problem, it's a good project, and we assured the developer we were not against it," Craig said. "We recommended he sit down with (Public Works Engineer) LaRon Garrett and see if they can't work this out, but they can also appeal our decision to the Town Council if they want."
Steve Graziano, a spokesperson for developer Manuel Arguello, said Arguello had no comment at this time. However, Graziano implied that his next move would most likely be an appeal to the town council at its Dec. 14 regular meeting.
Graziano also said that he is personally disappointed with the commission's decision. "The entrance is 113 feet from the Beeline," he said. "The Safeway entrance off Granite Dells is only 38 feet from Highway 260."
In the town's report to the commission, the batting cage project was praised for "substantial compliance with the town's zoning standards ... " The only mention of the entrance problem was a recommendation that it be located as far east on Airline as reasonable.
"Everything had been approved by LaRon Garrett and planning and zoning," Graziano said.
The hotel and the new Walgreens drug store will be built concurrently on a commercial site now occupied by Hopi House Shops, Payson Vita-Health, Rim Country Intergroup and a 1.93-acre vacant site. Eight tax parcels will be consolidated into one lot for the two projects.
The hotel developer, Payson Hotel Investors of Phoenix, will be required to widen Longhorn Road to meet ADOT intersection requirements.