Town Council To Reinspect Affordable Housing Project


This Thursday, the Payson Town Council will again consider a rezoning request filed by William Broce, a local developer who wants to build an affordable housing subdivision near Payson Municipal Airport.

The council sent the issue back to the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission last month for further review after more than a dozen homeowners in Mazatzal Mountain Air Park near the airport protested the project.

Broce told the council in June that he wants to build about 200 units on 52 acres northwest of the airport and that half of those units will be priced between $80,000 and $100,000.

Mazatzal Mountain Air Park residents, many of whom bought property near the airport so they could taxi their planes from their home hangars to the airport, told the council that the project may threaten their way of life.

They said they're worried their new neighbors will complain about the airplane noise and force the airport to close, and they'll bring children dangerously close to their residential taxiways. They've also voiced concerns that the affordable housing project will lower their property values.

The council will consider the project during its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at Town Hall, 303 N. Beeline Highway.

On the move

The Payson Planning and Zoning Commission will recommend Thursday that the council deny a conditional use permit for a U-Haul rental service at 112 W. Cedar.

According to the commission, the business, which is located on a 40-foot section of land, does not meet town standards and is blocking traffic in the area.

The company also failed to meet town codes pertaining to commercial districts, landscaping and buffering, off-street parking and loading.

Liquor license request

In other business, the council will consider an application for a liquor license filed for property at 400 South Pine Street, which, according to town officials, does not meet town zoning, building and access codes.

The application is "premature for consideration at this time," Community Development Director Bob Gould said.

The area is zoned for small, commercial businesses with conditional-use permits, but restaurants and bars are not allowed under current zoning, he said. The property owner has not yet established a building for the liquor license and the property doesn't meet business access regulations, he said.

"With no zoning, building, or access to the lot, I recommend a denial for the liquor license at this location until the above conditions are met," Gould said.

Upping the ante

Payson's Chief Fiscal Officer Glenn Smith will ask the council to increase the amount the town must go out to bid for from $10,000 to $25,000.

Right now, the town must secure competitive bids for any purchase over $10,000. Smith wants to increase that amount to $25,000.

Right now the town has to receive three independent bids in writing to purchase a $20,000 police car, Smith said. The amendment would raise the ceiling to $25,000, but the council would still have the authority and responsibility to approve all expenditures.

"It will simply speed up the process of approving a purchase for both council and staff," Smith said.

Expanding airport operations

Town Manager Richard Underkofler will ask the council for permission to seek competitive proposals for a ground lease of at least 10,500 square feet east of the Crosswinds Restaurant at Payson Airport for the construction and operation of a fixed-base operation hangar.

Underkofler said the project will generate revenue for the airport, which is currently subsidized by the town.

"At the proposed price of 37 cents per square foot, per year, this project looks at bringing in a minimum $3,385 per year for rent," Underkofler said.

The owners of the airport's fueling business want first rights to the fixed-base hangar operation, the town manager said, but they don't want to lease the entire area.

"The company only wants to lease between 4,400 and 6,000 square feet, meaning that the company would use the additional land without paying for it," Underkofler said.

Executive session

During executive session, the council will consider negotiations with the Tonto Apache Tribal Council for town services.

The town's contract with the tribe to supply water, fire and other emergency services has expired and must be renegotiated.

The town has submitted an offer, Underkofler said, and the tribe has issued a counter proposal that includes a lower price for emergency services.

"We just want to be fairly compensated, or what we believe to be fairly compensated for the services rendered," Underkofler said.

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