When we read the agenda for the Aug. 3 special meeting of the Payson Town Council, we were unsure what to expect.
The agenda listed a "presentation by Mayor Edwards of a long term plan for water and growth in the Town of Payson," a "discussion, possible action regarding Mayor Edward's long term plan" and "discussion, possible action regarding long term water use, needs and supply, including the Tower Well."
Until a day before the actual meeting, there was no packet available to the press or other council members explaining this plan.
We sat on the edge of our seats wondering what to expect. Those of us on the Editorial Board who could not be at the council meeting in person, watched it on television or on the Town of Payson Web site.
This plan, we believed, would be the first true benchmark of Edwards' time in office. It would reveal the direction he planned to lead the town.
As the 17 points of the plan were read aloud, we were pleasantly surprised.
First, it was refreshing to see that the mayor's campaign promises were more than election rhetoric. Edwards does have a plan for Payson, a clear vision, and, we believe this plan reflects the interests of many in the community. It was a good compromise between the construction industry and those who are concerned about the pace of growth in this small town.
According to Edwards' "build out game plan," an annual 250-unit limit will be put on residential construction permits. Town staff was instructed to develop an allocation plan for those building permits.
Town staff has been instructed to make a list of all developments currently "in the pipeline," which includes all projects wherein the developer has presented a conceptual plan. All other projects will be turned back at the gate until a water study has been completed.
The conflict between Payson developers and the Town of Star Valley over water from the Tower Well seems at an impasse because no one agrees on the severity of the current water situation. Are we in crisis? Do we have more than enough to go around?
While some believe the possible $200,000 this new water study will cost is a waste of money, we do not. An unbiased and comprehensive study will go a long way to clear the air on this matter. This study will be the difference between fact and emotion, between assumption and reality. It will provide both towns with the information to move forward.
We still have a few questions about this 17-point plan.
We are curious to know how the allowed 250 residential units will be allocated.
We wonder at the justification behind an ordinance that would require a 5 to 2 vote for all developments, rather than just the developments that were protested by neighbors.
But we are reserving judgment until the town staff has completed work on each point and returned their findings to council for a final decision.
Until then, we would simply like to congratulate the mayor and council for taking a good step forward, and we will watch the outcome of this with the same interest and anticipation as we did the initial presentation.
See front page for a complete list of the 17 motions made and passed Aug. 3 and decide for yourself.