P&Z Approves New Private Christian School

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Town hall was packed for the meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday night. Two items on the agenda that enticed the public were a conditional-use permit for a new, private school on Mud Springs Road and a zoning change that would allow Payson Pines subdivision to expand by 32 new homesites.

Representatives of the Community Christian School answered questions from the public and commissioners about the logistics and impact of the school, which will be located at 500 N. Mud Springs Road.

Homeowners in the adjacent subdivision expressed their concerns about the school's effect on their quiet neighborhood.

One homeowner, whose property is 50 feet from the school yard, had concerns about noise and increased traffic on the already congested road. He described the traffic as unbearable and questioned what would happen if the bond initiative to improve Mud Springs doesn't pass in the September election.

The streets around Frontier Elementary School, including Mud Springs and St. Phillips are on the list of public works capital improvement projects that, with voter approval in September, will be funded by bonds.

According to town engineer LaRon Garrett, improving traffic in that area is a town priority and will proceed regardless of whether the bond initiative passes.

"It will still come regardless," Garrett said. "It is a high priority for the council. The only issue is the money."

If the bond initiative fails, funds for the improvement would have to come from another source. Garrett could not say how long it could take to secure funding for the project.

Commission Chairman Bob Flibotte was concerned about the noise factor, but posed a question about the school's location.

"If not here, where? In whose neighborhood?" Flibotte asked. "It has to go some place."

Councilor Barbara Brewer asked the commission to consider requiring a block wall rather than a chain link fence to mitigate some of the noise from the school.

The commission briefly considered the request, but decided that the only addition to the conditional use requirements would be that the school could not rent out the facility for functions at night.

The conditional-use permit for the Community Christian School was approved 4-3 by the commission. Their recommendation now goes to the council for final approval.

Payson Pines expansion

The current developers of the Payson Pines subdivision requested that the 7.70 acres on the east side of N. McLane Road, between Payson Pines and Payson Ranchos Unit 1, be rezoned to allow for an additional 32 residential lots.

A preliminary assessment by Public Works director Buzz Walker and town engineer LaRon Garret found among other things, emergency access and water problems with the proposed plan.

Subdivisions are required to find their own water supply and the original Payson Pines development downsized and found themselves with extra water which they believed they could transfer to additional subdivisions.

Payson Pines representative Brian Young addressed the commission.

"We've taken the position that we had water credits," Young said. "We had residual water and we expected to be able to use that."

Transferral of unused water to another subdivision requires a council action and according to Walker, there is no documentation to show that such an action was taken.

"Quite to the contrary," Walker stated in a memo to the developer, "action taken by the town council in December 2001 pursuant to Ordinance No. 599 anticipated that the unused water supply for the original subdivision would not be used for additional development.

"This developer has chosen not to abide by this and they are getting deeper and deeper into the project," Walker said. "I haven't seen anything that shows a water credit and it's probably something that I would have written myself."

The other issue that Garret found was that access to the proposed subdivision does not meet town code.

"The layout is basically one long cul-de-sac with 32 lots," Garrett stated in a memo to the commission. "The developer is showing one major access point and one emergency access point. However, both access points are in the same general area and only about 125 feet apart. Unless the two entrance points are at least 300 feet apart, preferably 600 feet apart, it does not constitute a second entrance. The emergency access point needs to be relocated to the northeast corner of the property to connect into Houston Mesa Road."

Audience members ranged from Payson Ranchos residents concerned about the encroachment of the potential subdivision to current Payson Pines residents stung by previous developers who allegedly failed to make improvements that were promised to homeowners.

The rezoning requested was denied by the commission by a 5-1 vote, thereby recommending to council that they not approve a zoning change for the property.

Meetings of the Planning and Zoning Commission are held in the council chambers at town hall and are open to the public.

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