Forest Land Goes Private

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by Jim Keyworth

roundup staff reporter

Two Rim country subdivisions that are changing from Forest Service to private ownership will be pre-zoned so they have to meet Gila County requirements.

Meeting in Globe last week, the board of supervisors voted to classify Thompson Draw Units I and II and Ellison Creek Summer Homes as R1L-D40.

"Federal lands are exempt from local rules and regulations, and if we didn't do this, they would basically come out unzoned," Gila County Planning Department Manager Terry Smith said.

Originally subdivided back in the 1950s, the Forest Service has kept ownership of the land through renewable leases of 10 to 15 years.

"They're trying to get out of the business of leasing, and the parcels have gone through a detailed appraisal process to assess fair market value," Smith said.

Most of the compliance issues relate to streets in the affected subdivisions, especially their width, according to Smith.

"We sent a request to the Forest Service that we be allowed to pre-zone them before they come out of exchange," he said.

Thompson Draw I and II are located 14 miles from Payson between Little Green Valley and Christopher Creek off Forest Road 405. The communities combined have 85 one-acre parcels.

The Ellison Creek summer homes are located on the east side of Highway 87 between Payson and Pine. The subdivision is made up of 60 leased parcels.

The board also approved a request to rezone some 70 parcels in the Lamplighter RV Resort in Star Valley to allow site-built homes. Greg Mulligan, one of the owners, said the request is designed to give people another housing option.

"This just allows for a different product, a cabin or larger site-built home," Mulligan said.

Lamplighter currently has one model, a cabin that sells for about $45,000. The land on which the homes are built is leased from Lamplighter for $275-300 per month.

In other action, the board approved the consolidation of the county's three roads-maintenance programs into a single Public Works Department.

"The roads maintenance program will be run by a roads supervisor with two foremen under him one in the north or Timber Region, and one in the south, or Copper Region," County Administrator Steve Besich said. "Before, each supervisor ran his own roads program."

Besich said the change is designed to achieve eventual cost savings by better utilizing resources and prioritizing needs.

The change will leave only one county Apache which still allows each supervisor to run a separate roads program.

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