County Considers Map Change For New Development

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Gila County may be changing some land uses in the Payson area this week.

The planning and zoning commission has been asked to amend its land use map to accommodate a proposed 14-acre, 27 lot development called Summit Springs, and rezone the land. The property is west of Payson on the old Summit Mine property.

"The developer wants to change the zoning to put residential lots in, with lots ranging from a minimum of 10,000 square feet to an average of 15,500 square feet," said Terry Smith, director of the county planning and zoning department

The developer is Ecco Homes Inc., Smith said. The contact for the company, Eric Capranica, said he did not want to discuss the proposal, according to a secretary in the office.

The issue is before the county planners at 10 a.m., March 18 in Globe. According to the agenda, the developer will have public sewer and water facilities serving the development. However, neither the town or the Northern Gila County Sanitary District have been approached to provide service. The property is not in the boundaries for service by the sanitary district, according to Sharon Owens, office manager and bookkeeper for the district. She said it was the district's understanding the project would have its own system.

"Public facilities could mean they were operated by a homeowners' association," said Buzz Walker, public works director for the town.

One couple, Janet and W.A. Scott living in the Payson subdivision nearest the proposed development, has concerns about the impact of the project on the roads.

"The only reasonable way to get to this property is up Airport Road and through our subdivision or up North Vista Road (past the cemetery) through our subdivision, then out through the Tonto National Forest," the Scotts wrote in a letter to Smith. "The town of Payson is having a hard enough time repairing our roads, let alone replacing them, and with this much more traffic on them, it will be a disaster."

The couple circulated fliers about the issue and March 18 hearing, and they also are circulating a petition protesting the fact that the residents of the proposed development will not be sharing the financial burden of taking care of the town streets they must use.

LaRon Garrett, town engineer, said he has sent a letter to the county expressing the official concerns of Payson about the development.

"The Forest Service has also sent a letter with their own concerns," Garrett said. "The road to the property is an existing public right of way and so is Graff, in the town limits. But there is a narrow cattle guard out there and the road is not fully paved. We've asked that the cattle guard be made full size and other stipulations be required by the county if they grant the developer's rezoning request."

For more information about the project, call Smith at (928) 425-3231 or (800) 304-4452.

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