121-Unit Subdivision Makes Its Way Through Planning Process

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On July 27, the Payson Town Council will hear a proposal for one of the largest subdivisions in recent Payson history.

Ponderosa Heights is proposed as a 121-unit residential subdivision located at 1701 N. Beeline Hwy.

On July 10, it passed the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commission's recommendation goes to the council July 27 and if the council votes yes on the preliminary, and later final plat, Ponderosa Heights, located at 1701 N. Beeline Hwy., could be the largest subdivision recorded in more than five years.

Ponderosa Heights, is zoned for one house per 10,000 square feet, which is considered a medium-density development by the town's general plan.

"Most places around the country would say it's on the low-density side," said Community Development Director Jerry Owen. "Ten years ago this would have been considered a small to medium project."

During the mid- to late-1990s, Payson experienced a subdivision-approval growth spurt.

In 1996, Woodhill added 400 new lots, some still undeveloped, to the town's land supply.

Two years later, and again in 2001, the council approved another 900 lots in Chaparral Pines and The Rim Club.

Dozens of other subdivisions such as Stone Creek, Payson Pines and Elk Ridge further bulked up the land available for development.

But many of these subdivided tracts are still vacant, and Ponderosa Heights is no exception.

"Those lots could sit there for decades," Owen said. "The approval of subdivisions doesn't mean there will be 121 houses built overnight, sucking on the aquifer."

As a requirement of the preliminary platting process, the town requires developers to secure water if the project exceeds 20 units, depending on the size of the lots.

With some of the older subdivisions, developers drilled their own wells or tapped into the town's water system.

Ponderosa Heights will rely on water purchased from George Randall and Roy Haught.

After the preliminary plat is approved by the council, the developers will prepare improvement plans and the final plat, which include financial assurances, engineering and the official recordation of lots.

The applicant, Ponderosa Heights LLC, which lists Diversified Capital Development of Scottsdale and Terra Capital LLC of Payson as managing members, had fewer barriers than many projects that come before planning and zoning.

The property was already zoned.

Without existing zoning, developers seeking rezoning must undergo two rounds of council approval before the project can move to the preliminary platting phase.

"Preliminary platting is an administrative act," Owen said. "Does (the project) meet the code or it doesn't meet the code."

Because the property was already zoned for residential, the project's applicant, Ponderosa Heights LLC, which lists Diversified Capital Development of Scottsdale and Terra Capital LLC of Payson as managing members, proceeded directly to the preliminary platting phase.

Without existing rezoning, developers seeking rezoning must undergo two rounds of council approval before the project can move to the preliminary platting phase.

The council will vote on the preliminary plat of Ponderosa Heights at its July 27 council meeting.

-- To reach Felicia Megdal call 474-5251 ext. 116 or e-mail fmegdal@payson.com.

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