Mayor Tells Developer To Stop Wasting Town's Time

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A waste of time.

That's what Payson Mayor Bob Edwards told the developer of the proposed 64-acre Forest Edge subdivision that came up for a second rezoning hearing at Thursday evening's town council meeting.

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Payson Mayor Bob Edwards

"I don't believe you have a prayer in getting this passed," Edwards said. "It's just wasting our time. It's wasting the town's time."

Mark Perry, a representative of the developer, Terra-Payson 65 LLC, asked the council to table the rezoning hearing until the Aug. 10 council meeting, giving the planners time to rework the project and present it to the surrounding communities.

Perry said his firm is willing to accommodate the concerns of the neighbors and fund related infrastructure projects such as sewer, street and trail improvements.

"What we're trying to do is figure out how much infrastructure goes in," Perry said. "I think there's an absolute tremendous benefit to getting the right infrastructure."

Since November 2005, Forest Edge has cycled through two separate councils and at least a half dozen council meetings.

Edwards and councilors Ed Blair and Andy Romance turned down the project's postponement, but the voting power of the other four members tabled the motion.

"I am clearly not happy with what went on here tonight," Edwards said after the vote ended.

Terra-Payson 65 LLC seeks a zoning change from one unit per 4 acres to one unit per 44,000 square feet to accommodate 54 single-family detached lots. Without the council's approval, the developer can rework the project or let it die.

The principals of Terra-Payson 65 LLC have asked the mayor to recuse himself from voting on the matter, citing a conflict of interest because his home is close to the Forest Edge boundary.

Although the development firm has said it will pursue legal action against the town, no lawsuit has been filed.

Boulder Ridge

Another long-standing subdivision, however, made it past the council Thursday evening.

A six-to-one vote moves the Boulder Ridge subdivision forward to the preliminary plat phase.

Since January 2006, when Boulder Ridge found its way to the agenda, Kevin Sokol, the developer, has worked with the council to provide ample green space, recreation facilities, streets, easements and pathways. As a stipulation of rezoning, Sokol also donated two lots to the town for work force housing.

Sokol made a final concession by selling three lots at market value to neighbors Nick and Maureen Brotcke who wanted a buffer between the new subdivision and their nearby home.

Boulder Ridge is comprised of a 28-unit town home and 23-single residential units at 400 E. Tyler Parkway. To meet town water requirements, Sokol purchased water from a well owned by Roy Haught and George Randall in Star Valley.

Blair, the only councilor who voted against Boulder Ridge, said at a June 8 council meeting that he would object to any project using that water.

"I'm really concerned about the water," Blair said. "I'm going to vote ‘no' to keep this water issue in front of us."

Airport subdivision

The council turned its attention to a proposed subdivision of hangar homes north of the Payson Municipal Airport. Developer Doug Pelton of Aero Development asked the council to grant him a major amendment change to the town's General Plan. Currently, the General Plan, which is mandated and controlled by state law, earmarks that land for future commercial growth.

Pelton, who said the property is better suited for aviation purposes, asked the council to change the 51-acre tract from an employment designation to rural residential for his Silverwing subdivision. Although Pelton modified his proposal to include a land donation and infrastructure upgrades, the council voted two to five against Pelton's request, noting concerns over aviation grant money and inappropriate use of land.

Budget approval

To prepare for the upcoming fiscal year, the council approved the town's $39 million budget. Final budget approval comes Aug. 3 and taxes are levied Aug. 10.

The next town council meeting is scheduled for July 27 at 6 p.m.

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