No matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise, most of us still judge a book by its cover. For our community, the cover that most people see first is on the road that leads into town.
Think of a time when you may have been traveling and started to enter a little town for the first time. What things did you notice, consciously or subconsciously? You likely looked for a sign that indicated the population size. You may have reflected on the year the community was founded to consider its traditions and heritage. You also may have made a character judgment about the people who lived there based on how many local civic groups were represented on the roadside signs as you entered the town.
All of these things start to paint a picture of a community. But perhaps the most powerful is what businesses first appear in your windshield. They tell a story that may or may not be accurate.
With this in mind, Payson's Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-1 Monday to deny a conditional-use permit for a used car lot on south Beeline an area many consider the gateway to Payson.
We applaud those five members of the commission who want to adhere to a higher aesthetic standard for this area of town. Payson's gateway not only influences the impressions that visitors form about our community, it also shapes the way we all feel about our hometown when we return home from the Valley.
No doubt there are many fine businesses that can help our community put its best foot forward, and it is likely that this decision will be appealed to the town council. But the commission's message clearly establishes a better standard for the cover of our community.