Airport Residents Shouldn't Bear Cost Of Affordable Housing

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by Judy Griffith

Payson

Payson property owners and prospective buyers, take notice. This is an alert to a possible threat to property in the Town of Payson: It's called rezoning.

The Payson Town Council is currently considering rezoning part of our subdivision, Mazatzal Mountain Air Park, in the cause of "affordable housing." Because of the unique nature of our property, we believe that such a move will substantially devalue our homes. When we bought our property, we believed we were putting a large portion of our retirement savings into an area set aside for aviation use. We based this belief on the word of the developers (who told us) that it was a (development with) 111 half-acre lots where airplanes have the right of way on the streets. This belief was supported by the town council March 25, 1999, when it adopted the Payson Municipal Airport Management, Operations and Maintenance Plan, which states, "Aviation uses should continue to be encouraged in Sky Park, Mazatzal Mountain Air Park, and the proposed Payson Sky Ranch. It would not be a good idea for single family or multifamily residential uses that would be incompatible with airport operations to occur adjacent to the airport."

We have the odd notion that the large number of children the proposed development is intended to house will be incompatible with our airplanes.

I realize that this policy was adopted by last year's town council and we have a new council now, as was pointed out in a recent Payson Roundup editorial supporting this rezoning. Does this mean that people who are considering investing their hard-earned savings in Payson property can't put any confidence in this year's council decisions because after the next election, everything could be up for grabs? Should rezoning to benefit one group be made at the expense of another group? It's our neighborhood today, but it could be yours tomorrow.

A statement in the recent editorial said that all the problems we foresee could be overcome with "smart planning." Part of the proposed "smart planning" is a fence between the developments, which will end at the corner of Mooney and Chenault parkways, about 150 feet from the entrance to the proposed project. Will the city post a guard there to keep the children from skateboarding and biking on our nice wide streets, which are airplane taxiways?

The editorial also stated that this rezoning was only being opposed by a "handful of aviation enthusiasts" who live in the airpark and that "special interests" shouldn't influence town council decisions. We believe that the long-term viability of the airport will be threatened by this new opportunity for noise and over-flight complaints, and that more than a handful of people have an interest in ensuring the continuing availability of this community facility. We invite new members to join our "special interest" group by letting your opinions be known. Lower-cost housing is a need in Payson, but l resent being singled out to help subsidize it through our property devaluation.

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