Payson Needs Affordable Housing To Keep Vital Service Industry Workers

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Approximately 10 years ago, Sedona, like Payson, was in need of affordable housing for people in the community who worked in the service industry, such as policemen, firemen, nurses, teachers and clerks.

However, the Nimby Syndrome Not in My Back Yard prevailed, and the affordable housing effort died for lack of community support. Eventually, land values and construction costs increased to the point that affordable housing was not feasible in Sedona.

The labor pool for Sedona was drawn from Cottonwood, which is approximately 18 miles to the south. When higher paying jobs and affordable housing became available in Cottonwood, Sedona lost most of its labor pool.

Payson is now where Sedona was 10 years ago. Recent newspaper accounts in the Payson Roundup have indicated that the opposition to the proposed "Mountainaire" affordable housing project have stated concern for "ground safety," from airplanes using the streets to taxi to their homes and "the long-term viability of the airport." A recent (letter to the editor) in the July 4 Roundup gave the true reason for the opposition when it stated, in regard to affordable housing near the Mazatzal Mountain Air Park, that it will "substantially devalue our homes."

Bill Broce stated, "the medium density zoning we're requesting is in the 2020 Payson Land Use Plan." If the affordable housing project is denied by the Planning and Zoning Commission and the town council, a 12,000-square-foot lot subdivision will be developed on this property. This would eliminate the fenced buffer zone and green area which will allow new homes to be constructed adjacent to the Mazatzal Mountain Air Park without a buffer zone.

Our new mayor and town council have stated they wish to represent the needs of the entire community, and not just those of small special interest groups. I do hope they will consider the future needs of the entire community and prevent, due to the lack of affordable housing and higher paying jobs, the loss of teachers and other vital community service personnel.

Gordon Metcalf

Payson

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