Local developer G. Michael Horton has taken delivery of a large quantity of pipe, enough to get started on the water line he intends to run from Star Valley down Highway 260 to Payson.
Much of the pipe is setting on the site of the RH-2 well owned by George Randall and Roy Haught adjacent to Phil White Ford in Star Valley.
Horton, who confirmed Thursday that he intends to proceed with the pipeline, has a letter of understanding from the town that it will accept Star Valley water to meet the water requirements for three new subdivisions he plans to build in Payson.
But representatives of the two groups opposing the extraction of water from Star Valley -- the Diamond Star Water Coalition and the Payson-based Committee for Community-Based Growth -- say he's wasting his money if he starts laying pipe. They base their argument on the town's passage of Resolution 2098 and the petitions they filed last week calling for the issue to be placed on the ballot.
"We blocked that," local attorney and coalition member Art Lloyd said. "He cannot run water to Payson until there's a vote."
Bob Edwards, a former Michigan state legislator and chairperson of the committee, elaborated.
"If you read that resolution closely, it says that (Horton) will develop this well. He'll acquire it from (Randall and Haught) and give it to the town. The town then owns that well at that point."
Edwards believes, therefore, that the voters will not only decide whether the town should pay Randall and Haught $750,000 for excess water, but also whether the town should enter into an arrangement with Horton at all regarding the RH-2 well.
Town Manager Fred Carpenter offered a possible scenario.
"I suppose someone could dig a pipeline in the county right of way if they wanted to; if they feel comfortable they would eventually be able to connect," he said. "I don't think there's anything that would legally stop him from beginning."
But he deferred to town attorneys Sam Streichman and Tim Wright for a strict legal interpretation, both of whom are attending the League of Cities conference and could not be reached.
In the meantime, Lloyd agrees with Carpenter that Horton can probably dig a pipeline if he wants to.
"They got a permit from ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation) so I don't think that ADOT cares," he said. "But it may be the pipeline to nowhere."