Council Tackles Another Tyler Parkway Subdivision

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Yet another Tyler Parkway subdivision issue has landed before the Payson Town Council.

The latest, a request by McIntyre Construction for a zone change to allow a nine-lot subdivision at 600 E. Tyler Parkway, will be considered by the council at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at Payson Town Hall.

The subdivision, known as Spirit Ridge Equestrian Estates, would consist of homes with a minimum size of 2,300 square feet and would also allow horses.

At issue is a finding by Public Works Director Buzz Walker that the subdivision, if approved, would create additional water use in violation of the town's adopted policy to operate within the "safe yield" philosophy. In effect, that policy means that the town will not grow beyond the ability of water supplies to support water demand.

While town staff recommended denying the request because of the water issue, the planning and zoning commission voted 5-2 to approve it.

In a letter to council members and selected town staff members, owner Susan McIntyre accused the town of blindsiding her "with a baseball bat with no provocation.

"We are and have been in the process with the town to create this (subdivision) and we feel it is prejudicial to change the rules and reliance on past performance midstream," McIntyre wrote. "When I purchased this property, both the realtors and I relied upon the reliability and consistency of the town to continue to uphold (its) policy of 20 equivalent residential units of water per subdivision."

Calling it immoral to "mow down innocent parties as a result of reaching objectives," McIntyre intimated that her company did not have the financial wherewithal "to wait an undetermined time for water."

Tyler Parkway residents Larry and Barbara Brown live next to the proposed subdivision. They expressed their opposition in a letter to planning and zoning and the town council.

In addition to the water issue, the Browns opposed the rezoning on the grounds that it would cause a loss of quality of life, neighborhood character and image, increased water run-off problems, sewer issues, increased traffic and noise and decreased property values.

The council has spent considerable time the past few months grappling with another Tyler Parkway rezoning request, this one by Patrick and Barbara Underwood, that would allow 14 lots to be carved from a parcel previously zoned for seven. The council first approved the request, then reversed its decision, citing water as a determining factor.

Property tax levy

A proposed primary property tax levy increase for the 2004-2005 fiscal year -- from $0.275 to $0.286 per $100 assessed value -- will also be considered by the council Thursday evening. The increase, expected to net about $26,300 in new revenue, was triggered by a slowdown in construction, according to Chief Fiscal Officer Glenn Smith.

"(Property taxes) had been going down (in previous years) because there was sufficient change in the base due to new construction, but that has flattened," Smith said. "What it really does is allow us to pick up the new construction."

Other agenda items

Also on the council agenda Thursday evening:

  • A rezoning request that would allow a new subdivision south of Manzanita Manor.

"It has conditions on it that would only apply to assisted living, and they want to go to apartments and mostly single family houses," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said. "Years ago people brought water in, so they have water credits there."

  • A council decision request by Human Resources Manager Tracy Snyder to develop a bilingual pay policy for employees.

"We have a lot of people, particularly in public safety, that are called upon to utilize other languages, principally Spanish, and they don't get compensated for it," Carpenter said. "Sometimes they get called out and are inconvenienced, so we are proposing that we adopt a stipend for these types of employees."

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