Payson needs architectural guidelines to live up to its image as a mountain forest community the Main Street Design Review Committee told the town council Thursday evening.
"Good planning and good design builds value," committee member Jeanie Langham told the council during the committee's presentation.
She blamed the current appearance of the town's business corridors on a lack of vision by previous councils.
"Eighteen years ago," Langham said, "a prominent local contractor went to town hall and said, ‘We need architectural guidelines.' Town hall was not in favor of guidelines at that time. This failure in vision and failure in action has resulted in a town that has grown without much planning and certainly not one with the pleasing aesthetics and ‘curb appeal' that even minimal guidelines could have delivered."
While the town can take pride in its residential neighborhoods, parks, museums and projects such as Main Street, Langham told the council that business corridors along highways 87 and 260 do not reflect well on the community.
"Unfortunately, we are concerned that the commercial corridors of our town do not mirror the image of what we really are," she said.
She noted that those corridors are marred by commercial construction that eliminates all Ponderosa pines on many sites, buildings constructed with their backs to the highway, and large expanses of decomposed granite with little or no foliage. While admitting that the heart of Payson's business district is nearly built out, Langham told the council it is not too late to develop guidelines.
"There are new businesses being built and others in the planning stages to the north and to the east," she said. "Typically, as development increases, older developments will become obsolete and be replaced."
The committee, which developed guidelines for Main Street, wants the council to authorize them to serve as the town's design review board in developing a townwide commercial ordinance. Besides Langham, other members of the committee include Su McIntyre, Andy Romance, Robert Hershberger, Mareena Cords, Diane Enos, John Hanna and Carol Thompson.
Following the presentation and a brief discussion, the council agreed to take the request under advisement.
Liquor board overturns council
The State Liquor Board recently voted 6-0 to grant a Series 10 liquor license for a Maverik Country Store proposed for the southeast corner of Forest Drive and Beeline Highway, overturning a town council recommendation that a license be denied.
Several members of the council attended the hearing on Jan. 6 and reported to the council Thursday evening. Most of them touched on the fact that the board members acted like they knew more about Payson than its own elected representatives.
"It was interesting to observe, because I don't think they were listening to us," Councilor George Barriger said.
The council voted 5-2 on Oct. 14 to recommend denial of a liquor license because of procedural errors and because the town doesn't need another place to buy liquor. Councilor Robert Henley, who also attended the hearing, re-emphasized the point Thursday evening.
"We have 42 places to buy liquor already in our town, including 14 places that you can actually buy it and carry it out, and several in close proximity to the Maverik store, but that was not persuasive to them," he said.
Counselor Dick Reese suggested the vote was a foregone conclusion.
"I feel the hearing and the decision that was made was wired going in and it was obvious that it was wired coming out," he said. "I am troubled in a representative form of government (that) we who represent the interests of Payson go before a state board that has the first and last word concerning this and they voted to approve and deny our interests."
A Series 10 license allows beer and wine sales for off-premise consumption. Tom Ross, a supervisor for Maverik in Salt Lake City, said that 97 percent of Maverik stores sell beer and wine.
Maverik Country Stores, Inc. operates 167 stores in seven western states.