Town Puts Home-Based Businesses Back On Hold


The Payson Town Council won't be taking any action to accommodate home-based businesses at its Thursday meeting after all.

Following a spirited debate, the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission decided at a special meeting Monday not to recommend any zoning changes for home-based businesses, at least until it can see a new draft of the proposed changes at its June 18 meeting. The council had scheduled a special meeting at 5 p.m. to consider the commission's recommendations.

Among the issues that stood out as unresolved included neighborhood input, use and definition of "permitted accessory structures," whether home-based businesses should be permitted in multi-family housing units, and the size and number of commercial vehicles a home-based business can have.

After weighing the need to keep up with changing technology against what some commissioners perceived as a growing intrusion on residential neighborhoods, the commission unanimously agreed to table the matter.

In stating his support for the changes, Commissioner Robert Flibotte emphasized the need to keep pace with change.

"The current regulations may not be broken, but they are not complete," he said. "They don't reflect the world as it's changed today, and most of the things we've talked about fit the bill. I'm in favor of (these changes)."

But Commissioner Frank Daria turned the debate when he suggested there was more involved in the matter than trying to accommodate Internet-based home businesses, which had been Town Manager Rich Underkofler's rationale in recommending the revisions in the first place.

"The conclusion I've come to is that we're taking the residential zoning and trying to make it a quasi-commercial arrangement, and we're couching it with words from semi (trucks) to, you name it," Daria said.

"I think we've got a basic responsibility as a commission here ... to respect the rights of those people who (live in) residential (areas). I think we can take what's written on the books today and modify some of it, clean it up a little bit and approve it."

The council will still hold the 5 p.m. meeting Thursday for a presentation on the new economy by Mary Jo Waits of Arizona State University's Morrison Institute. Planning and Zoning Commission Chairperson Ruth Craig expressed the hope that Waits' input will help resolve the home-based business issue.

Teen activity night

At the regular 6 p.m. meeting that follows, the council will hear 11 Payson High School students from Anna Van Zile's Writing I class make their case for a bi-monthly teen activity night. The teenagers will suggest that the activity night be held two Saturdays a month beginning in August or September at the old high school gym, with activities to include video games, basketball, volleyball, weights and possibly karaoke.

In their proposal, the students point out that prior attempts to establish such an activity have failed for lack of funding.

"Though it would be preferable to have a facility designed solely for teens, our plan makes use of already existing structures...," they wrote.

Any funding provided by the town would be used to pay for supervision and security. The Payson Unified School District has already agreed to let the group use the old gym at no cost.

Off-leash dog facility

Another group, the Payson Area Woofers, will present the council with a proposal for an off-leash dog facility in Rumsey Park.

Members of the group or about 40 residents say that while they supports the Gila County leash law, they also see the need for a controlled area where responsible dog owners can exercise their animals off-leash.

"Fenced areas set aside in city parks for dog exercise off-leash have become extremely popular nationwide and are praised by park managers as successful, yet easily managed additions to park activities," said Vivian Taylor, founder and acting president. The group has already met with Payson Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind.

South Tyler Parkway subdivisions

The council also will consider adding its approval to the endorsement recently granted by the planning and zoning commission, moving two subdivisions to be built side-by-side on South Tyler Parkway ahead in their planning stages.

The developers of Highlands at the Rim, a subdivision that will have 38 single family lots, 88 town homes, plus eventual commercial development immediately south of Highway 260, are seeking preliminary plat approval for their project. The Enclave, a subdivision with 20 home sites on 14 acres adjacent to the southern boundary of Highlands at the Rim, is up for rezoning.

Event center bleacher roof

Another entry on Thursday night's agenda is a request to award a contract for $117,063 to Amon Builders to cover the two center bleachers on the south side of the Payson Event Center.

The galvanized roof will be covered to match the existing bleachers, and the contractor will be required to complete the project within 120 days. Funds are proposed as debt financing, with a portion of the town bed tax to be used to pay the debt service.

Elks 4th of July fund-raiser

The council also will hear a request for a special event liquor license for B.P.O.E. Lodge 2154. Funds raised at the event, scheduled for Wednesday, July 4, will be used for Elks charities.

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