Hasty Action To Halt Growth Can Be Costly


Let's not take the statement, "We the people," lightly.

Our forefathers used it in the opening of the Constitution to set a foundation for a new form of government.

But even then, "We the people" had its exclusions.

It seems that, "We the people" here in Payson is taking on a similar tone.

During the July 20 town council meeting, councilor Su Connell made a motion, which was an amendment to the Star Valley safe yield study motion on the table at the time, to put a hold on development until the study is completed -- something that might not be done until Jan. 31, 2007. We believe Connell's intentions were good, but not entirely thought out. And some members of the council were too quick to support her motion.

In the past, other members of the council have declared that they won't vote on any projects that use "Star Valley" water.

So far, current council water policy has been somewhat myopic -- with many of the current council's efforts and decisions revolving around weakening or thwarting Resolution 2098.

Discriminating on projects, holding development -- even future development -- and breaking the promises that the town has an obligation to fulfill, opens our community up to expensive litigation -- something that is unequivocally not good for "We the people."

In Monroe County, Florida a group of developers recouped $5.9 million after the county postponed development until a comprehensive growth plan could be established. The developers had spent several years and millions of dollars preparing the land. Eight years later, they still didn't have access to their land so they sued.

And that moratorium began in a similar way to what was proposed during the July 20 council meeting. The ramifications of such a motion must be carefully considered, and should not be presented as a spur of the moment, unagendized item. That's how communities get dragged into court.

The courts know that putting an end, even a temporary end, to growth and controlling water are not solutions.

The consequences of imposing such a moratorium could be disastrous, costing Payson millions and not just in dollars. Starting down such a path would reduce our labor force and education opportunities. Investors, fearing public and council backlash, will flee.

We may build a new event center, but who's going to work there? Where are they going to live?

Water is just one part of this equation. Payson needs a comprehensive economic development plan that includes education, housing, zoning, design review and neighborhood rehabilitation to steward responsible growth.

We need to make compromises and work with the business community of this town, including developers. We were glad to see a move in this direction at the July 27 council meeting.

If past councils had hastily set such moratoriums, where would current advocates of such actions, including elected officials, be living now?

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