Walker's Water Codes Back On Council's Agenda


A first reading and public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would amend four water codes is on the June 24 Payson Town Council agenda.

But, it's what's not on the agenda that drew the public's interest at the June 10 council meeting.

Public Works Director Buzz Walker originally included in the proposed ordinance a clarification that town water codes apply to private wells.

At the meeting, Mayor Barbara Brewer, the council and the audience never heard that portion of the ordinance because it was turned over to town attorney Sam Streichman for further study.

Several residents in attendance were set to voice their objections to Walker's contention that town codes apply to private wells.

Even Streichman agreed the issue is murky.

"We need to do some exploring of (that part) of the ordinance," he said.

Streichman has no definite timeline on when his decisions will be returned to the council.

"It's a very complicated matter," he said.

Walker has contended that the original ordinance drafted two years ago was intended to regulate both private and public water systems but needs more powerful wording. He estimates there are about 300 to 400 private wells in use.

The portion of the proposed ordinance that will be a part of Thursday's public reading will prohibit the construction of outdoor swimming pools and spas adjacent to motel/hotel rooms.

It is that part of the ordinance that Brewer is solidly behind.

She has said it makes no sense to clamp water restraints on local residents, then rent motel/hotel rooms equipped with spas in which visitors can use 200 gallons of water for 15 minutes then dump it down the sewer.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit the use of evaporative coolers in buildings larger than 3,000 square feet and define water waste as any non-beneficial use of water as determined by the public works director.

It also will eliminate, what Walker calls, unnecessary language in other water conservation codes.

Because Thursday's meeting is a public hearing, residents will be allowed to voice their concerns or support.

New business

Under new business, Walker will ask the council to authorize the mayor to inform the United States Forest Service of the town's intent to use the Townsite Purchase Process request to acquire about five acres of land near the intersection of the Beeline Highway and W. Houston Mesa Road. That land, which is mostly vacant now, would be used to build a water treatment plant should the town soon be allowed to pipe in water from the Blue Ridge Reservoir. Because the Blue Ridge water is surface water, it would need to be treated.

The Townsite Purchase Process, which has been used by Payson before, allows a town to purchase land from the forest service if it is to be used for a public purpose.

The Payson Town Council meets in its chambers at 303 N. Beeline Highway, beginning at 6 p.m. June 24. The meeting is open to the public.

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