Council Turns Focus To Town's Future

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Payson's 2001 Focused Future Plan a document that represents a consensus among town, business and community leaders on how to proceed with the promotion of economic development tops the agenda for the Payson Town Council meeting tonight (Tuesday) at 6 at Town Hall.

The council meeting was moved from Thursday, Jan. 25, because several council members could not attend that night.

The Focused Future plan the council will consider for approval is based on the results of a Nov. 17 meeting of 25 leaders representing the town, the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation and the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. Attendees at that meeting reviewed economic developments of the past year and examined ideas from the Oct. 20 Payson Town Hall before recommending the elements contained in the plan.

The 2001 Focused Future Plan is divided into seven key result areas Business Development/New Economy, Financing Development Program for Sources of Water Supply, Housing Mix/Diversity, Community Amenities/Quality of Life, Promote Good Relations with the Tribal Nation, Development of Payson as a Destination Location and Promote Senior Industries.

The council also will conduct a first reading and public hearing on an amendment to the town uniform building code "to increase the size of the Building Advisory Board to seven members and to extend its jurisdiction and purpose to permit the review of town codes, ordinances, rules and regulations, and the making of recommendations to the town council for revising" those that unnecessarily increase the cost of development.

The proposed changes to the code are the result of an effort by Payson Mayor Ray Schum and Vice Mayor Dick Wolfe to head off costly initiatives such as the one that could result from the filing late last year of a petition asking that recent changes to the unified fire code be rescinded. Local builders and developers have become increasingly disgruntled over the cost of the town's impact fees for water, sewers, streets and parks, and costly code and zoning requirements.

At the council's Jan. 11 meeting, several builders and developers spoke in favor of increasing the size and scope of the Building Advisory Board, which the council then endorsed. Local businessman Ray Pugel told the council, "We are pleased with the beginnings of a new attitude at city hall. The business community wants to work with you to make Payson a viable place to live."

Others at the meeting spoke out against the idea, including political activist Ruby Finney, who reminded the council that they took an oath "to represent all the people."

The council also will consider the terms and conditions of the sale of 11 lots owned by the town in Sky Park Subdivision.

At issue is whether to attach conditions to the sale of the lots regarding economic development. A draft of the bid and sale process contains six such factors, including the number of jobs to be created, and the average wages and benefits relative to the number of jobs to be created.

The council also will consider a decision request filed by Public Works Engineer LaRon Garrett to approve an agreement for a master drainage study of American Gulch. The proposed agreement, with Tetra Tech, Inc. of Phoenix, calls for the creation of a "conceptual watercourse management plan for a 74-acre area south of West Main Street, north of West Aero Drive and west from Sawmill Crossing to Green Valley Parkway.

The plan is designed to provide guidance to potential developers, allowing the town to manage the flood plain and guide growth in the area.

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