On Monday, Aug. 8, a meeting of the town of Payson Planning and Zoning Commission was held to hear, among other things, a proposal to re-zone a parcel of land at the end of Fawn Drive in the Manzanita Hills subdivision. I must say this was a very enlightening event. Perhaps I was naïve in my expectation that the obligation of the appointed commissioners was to represent the interests of the majority of Payson residents and landowners.
During the hour-long-plus meeting, the developer's representative made a brief statement that he wanted to put 14 houses on the property rather than the one already approved. He did not provide any reason or substantiation (other than his self-interest) why this would be good for the people of Payson. On the other hand, several citizens, owners and residents made a variety of presentations in opposition to the proposal with an appeal to their many interests.
Questions from the commissioners to the town staff regarding "what is the commission's responsibility" and "what is our position as far as water" evidenced that the commissioners were neither informed nor prepared to perform their appointed duties.
The nervousness they seemed to have given that it appeared their role was to wield the rubber stamp would have been humorous were it not for the sad and disappointing display of passing the buck. Bottom line is that the commission seemingly ignored the written and personally presented objections of the citizens and voted to approve the developer's proposal. This issue has now been moved to the town council, where it will no doubt be argued that it should be passed because the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed, studied it and recommends it.
There was an additional disappointment for anyone who expected that requirements and criteria based on national standards and presented by the official town engineer would be accepted as fact. Instead, the town staff zoning administrator (Ray Erlandsen) and one of the appointed commission members both asserted disagreed with the engineer's facts and in the end contributed to the readily "moved and seconded" process. This ensures that the game of hot potato will continue to the full town council. Planning and zoning commissioners, you should be ashamed of your actions.
Ginger Schoettinger Edwards