It is easy to see both sides of the debate on Ray Jones' appointment to the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission.
Yes, he went more than a few rounds with the commission building his home. That project was delayed by an improvement district that did not meet planned deadlines. He went ahead and built his home without the proper town permits, but he did have inspections as required by the rules -- just not by the Community Development Department.
Yes, he took the town to court with an injunction. The town was the victor. Jones paid his fees and other costs, then received his permits.
End of that story -- or at least that chapter.
Now comes Mayor Ken Murphy with a proposed appointment of Jones to planning and zoning. Is it a slap in the face to the commission as some town councilors seem to contend?
Or is it putting the voice of experience -- both in planning matters at the county level and as a resident going through the process -- on the commission?
Bob Flibotte, current chairman of the planning and zoning commission, is in favor of the appointment because of that experience. He is thrilled about it, in fact. Flibotte said he wants people on the commission that challenge one another. He did not say anything about challenging the rules.
That brings up another question. Will someone who has gone to the lengths Jones has to challenge the rules be inclined to challenge a majority, if not all, of the staff recommendations based on those rules?
If that is the case, there is a real possibility of making an already cumbersome process even more difficult. The role of any government entity is to provide a service to the public, not build barriers. A cumbersome process is the antithesis of service to the public.
Since Jones' appointment was approved, the debate is really moot. What remains is to see which way the wind blows.