I commend the Planning and Zoning Commission for their recent refusal to grant the rezoning requested by Payson Pines developers.
Much has been said in this town about "responsible growth," and there are many opinions. The study released last year by the water department indicated that the water in our aquifers is not being adequately replaced by rainfall. It is also my understanding that many building permits have already been issued -- to a number that would exceed the water currently available.
With just our present population, it is now necessary to observe "Water Conservation Level 2. If the drought continues, it will get even more severe -- and fire danger will rise as well.
I have heard Realtors tell prospective clients that there is no water problem, and that we have enough water for many, many years. How can anyone say this? Even if no more permits are issued for new home construction, wouldn't Realtors still do OK selling houses on the secondary market? At last count, I believe there were over 800 such homes in the area. Perhaps our local construction people would be occupied with additions, remodels, fix-ups and repairs -- rather than competing with the many out-of-town developers wanting to build yet more subdivisions.
It is a very good thing to conserve the water we have. My husband and I are avid gardeners, and members of the Rim Area Gardeners. We have large vegetable and flower gardens, with extensive floral variety on our corner lot. We believe that we are beautifying our neighborhood, thus making a contribution to Payson, through hard work and love of the earth. Yes, we use considerable water -- following town guidelines. We use a drip system, have eliminated nearly all grass, plant many xeriscape plants, harvest rainwater, and even bucket our gray water from in the house.
We're told by the Forest Service that we need to deep water all the pines and other large trees to protect them from fire and bark beetle. This is essential to the preservation of beauty that we have now.
Perhaps "responsible growth" means that we don't increase population for a while, but exercise "growth" in responsible use of what we have, while we search for other sources of water.
I urge P & Z, as well as the town council and the chamber of commerce, to be truly "responsible" for preserving our wonderful town. Please evaluate and act with intelligence and care, so that Payson resists "growth" at any price.
Vee Gooding, Payson