Code Change Clears Way For Hospice House In Payson

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Wording changes in the Town Code approved by the Payson Town Council have cleared the way for a new hospice care facility adjacent to Frontier Elementary School.

Rim Country Hospice Foundation officials, who plan to buy a five-acre lot from the Payson Unified School District, were granted a conditional use permit for the home, which will provide live-in care for terminally ill people, by the Planning & Zoning Commission at its meeting Monday at Town Hall. Tentative plans call for an 11,000-square foot facility that would house six patients and six staff members.

Kathleen Hughes, the organization's treasurer, explained that the facility would also feature a staff building for offices that are currently on East Frontier Street.

The project had been placed on hold for several months pending Payson Town Council approval of a new category in the Town Code for hospice care. That change, which received final approval last week, defines a hospice care center as "a residential facility for six or fewer unrelated, terminally ill persons wherein living facilities, sleeping rooms, meals and living assistance are provided."

This facility, zoning administrator Rudy Frost told the commission, will be "providing a unique and necessary community service for Payson's citizens with hardships."

The commission also approved a preliminary subdivision plat for Chaparral Lakes, a gated, 88-home subdivision that will include four lakes covering 10 acres and connect to the existing Chaparral Pines community.

The subdivision will occupy 144 acres east of North Tyler Parkway. It also will eventually include 56 clustered residential units.

As approved, the subdivision plat reflected changes from the tentative plat that reduced individual lot areas by 1.8 percent. While this dropped them below minimum zoning requirements, the commission approved the change based on the fact that it actually improves the project.

By reducing lot sizes, the developer, Westroc Real Estate Development of Scottsdale, was able to standardize roadway easements and improve cul-de-sacs to enhance both accessibility and circulation patterns. The commission also noted that the design change resulted in an increase in open space areas from 50 to 56 percent.

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