Despite concerns about traffic congestion at Highway 87 and Houston Mesa Road, the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for a new Giant convenience store at that intersection on Monday.
The 3,072-square-foot store with gasoline sales will be built on a 1.19 acre site on the southwest corner directly in front of The Home Depot store, which opened Thursday morning. It will share access routes, including the roundabout at Tyler Parkway, with The Home Depot, prompting Commissioner James Scheidt to express his concerns about traffic.
"Traffic flow is becoming an absolute mess out there," Scheidt said. "With that intersection (at) Houston Mesa Road and north 87, you not only increase the traffic by having a major retail outlet on the same corner (and they're going to use the same driveway) ... (but) we have no place to stop traffic to allow the people using this facility to get out."
Scheidt asked Giant representatives at the meeting whether traffic flow had been taken into consideration.
"I can just envision, knowing the business this company generates, RVs and everybody else backed up at Houston Mesa Road until the cows come home," he said.
Chris Vickers, one of the Giant representatives, responded that it wasn't Giant's problem.
"We are purchasing an out-lot of an existing shopping center," Vickers said. "We didn't create the entrance point, we are only complying with what's already in place."
Vickers also argued that Giant won't "be generating additional traffic."
"We don't feel we're a traffic generator; we're not a destination spot," she said. "The Home Depot is a destination."
"You don't seem to be concerned about it," he said. "You don't think you're going to generate any traffic, (but) I don't know how you (can believe that)."
The permit was granted by a 6-1 vote, with Scheidt dissenting. The store does not have to be approved by the town council, in part because Giant does not plan to sell liquor.
Last October, the council voted 5-2 on Oct. 14 to recommend denial of a liquor license to a Maverik Country Store, a convenience store with gasoline sales now under construction at the southeast corner of Forest Drive and Highway 87. While procedural problems in the application and hearing process were cited, the primary concerns expressed by councilors were that the town didn't need another liquor store to tempt underage consumption.
Several members of the council attended a hearing Jan. 6 at which the Department of Liquor License and Control rejected their arguments and voted 6-0 to grant Maverik a liquor license.