by Bill and Terry Broce
Monday, the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend denial of a 203-lot subdivision with site-built homes to start under $80,000 for a two bedroom, two bath; under $90,000 for a three bedroom, two bath; and under $100,000 for a four bedroom, two bath. All would include a two-car garage and patio lab.
The vote was three against two for the project.
We moved to Payson in 1991 to retire. The economy has been strong for the last number of years and we have prospered due to that fact. Now we are trying to pursue a dream I've had for the last three years affordable housing for the community.
I realize that the location of the project north of the existing 36-lot Mazatzal Mountain Air Park is not the ideal location. I have hunted, consulted local real estate agents, been to Payson's Affordable Housing Committee challenging them to help me find a location, with no luck.
Then I was notified about the vacant subject 52-acre site earlier platted for extension to the Air Park.
I grew up adjacent to Norton Air Force Base, which was one of the heaviest military transport airports in the nation, because that's all my family could afford. My wife also grew up under the flight pattern of an airport, so we both know the advantages and disadvantages.
The proposed site is not under the current landing or takeoff pattern or the proposed new pattern, but no doubt there will be some planes flying overhead, but where in Payson and most other towns don't they.
We are proposing a 30-foot to 100-foot greenbelt area between the two developments, fencing between the two projects, transitioning 12,000-foot lots, which is current zoning, adjacent to the greenbelt down to lot sizes averaging over 8,300 square feet and not using any of their streets.
No doubt most of you know many working-class families who work in Payson but can't live in our town because of housing costs.
School superintendent Herb Weissenfels spoke at the hearing and stated that he currently had 14 resignation letters on his desk, with the No. 1 reason for leaving being housing costs.
Hospital administrator Russell Judd stated he has advertised throughout the US for employees. When they check housing costs here, most decline.
Ann Staveness of First American Title Agency told me only three out of roughly 15 employees from her firm live in the town, mainly because of housing costs.
The stories are endless.
A recent study shows we need around 300 affordable family units just to meet our current working families of policemen, firemen, teachers, hospital employees, town staff, young families, etc.
These are not second-class citizens. This subdivision would not be a slum.
With the support of a dedicated home-builder, we plan on a quality project. We plan on a homeowners association with strict covenants and restrictions.
One of our planning and zoning commissioners stated before the vote that he was recommending denial because Payson didn't have an affordable housing problem and you could find it if you looked. I guess he must have been out of town the last few years.
Talk to your council members and encourage this project. It won't fill all the needed 300 plus housing needs, but it might help bring the over-inflated housing and rental prices down.