Growth Is Explosive



I was interviewed over the telephone by Roundup reporter Nancy Wright for an article that appeared Dec. 2. Having read the article, I feel that my comments were reported out of context in a manner that presented my opinions unfairly and incorrectly.

When I, or the organization that I represent as its chairman, the Committee for Community-Based Growth, express concerns about how Payson's growth is mismanaged, we are talking about physical growth, not population growth.

Mixing the two and inferring they are the same is incorrect, especially considering Payson's unique population characteristics of high second-home ownership and speculative investment. Evidence of this is the extensive growth of speculative development and new housing while at the same time school enrollments are decreasing.

What does this mean? It means that comparisons to other communities such as Pinetop/Lakeside and Cottonwood should not be made casually or without comparison of all-important criteria. Use of Department of Economic Security (new-speak for unemployment office) data is highly subject to question.

Continually authorizing increased densities, allocating and re-allocating water that we do not have and using long-term averages to mask the negative impact of current town council's decisions are problems. Authorizing new substandard roads to be built, as the town just did at the Nov. 17 council meeting, when we cannot even repair and maintain our existing roads is a problem.

From 2000 through 2004, the average of single family and manufactured home building permits was 213 per year. Projections based on current data from the town building department indicate 263 will be issued in 2005. This is a one-year increase of over 23 percent. When you add the multi-family units into the same years of comparison, the increase grows to over 68 percent. This is not normal, well-managed or acceptable growth. It is explosive growth and has put the town of Payson on a path toward crisis. That is my opinion. I will discuss this with anyone willing to look at all of the facts and in their proper context.

Hal Baas, Payson

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