More New Homes, Less Water



On July 19, I attended an open to the public meeting of the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission. Its purpose is to investigate, review and evaluate zoning and re-zoning proposals and make recommendations to the Town Council for approval or denial. You would like to think that any and all conclusions and resulting recommendations to the council would be in the best interests of Payson and all its residents.

Not so, folks. Here's what took place at this meeting. It is the direction this committee has taken and continues to pursue:

At question was a proposed re-zoning of what was originally planned for one home on two acres to one home on one acre. Several citizens, including myself, spoke against the proposal. A representative of the property owner was the only person to speak in favor of the issue.

The committee was told by Town legal staff that: Buzz Walker, head of the town water department, was recommending denial of the re-zoning based on insufficient water sources; and the re-zoning was not in conformance with the Payson General Plan. Prior to the committee's final vote, one member said he believed people had a right to make a profit.

I think the owner of this particular property would have probably made a profit selling the raw land as-is. The owner would probably have made a profit building "spec" homes within the already approved zoning parameters. The owner will most certainly make even more profit via a re-zoning allowing additional homes to be built.

Another member said he felt Walker's written statement to deny was not based on any specific guidelines he could feel comfortable with.

So, how's this for a guideline? Will the re-zone result in a benefit to the town and all its residents? Will the re-zone result in more homes that need more water?

The seven members voted 5 - 2, and recommended approval. But wait, here's a fun part -- I'm told one of the committee members should have abstained from the vote -- he lives within 300 feet of the proposed re-zone! Does this not make their final vote invalid?

Bottom line: we don't hose our driveways or wash our cars so real estate developers can make more money. This is not just ludicrous, it's looney tunes!

Let's hope the town council has better vision and shows more civic responsibility and rejects this re-zone.

Paul Penning

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