Payson Council To Consider Airport Subdivision

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For the first time since the Town's General Plan was adopted in 2002, the Payson Town Council Thursday will consider a resolution to make a major amendment to the general plan to accommodate a 51-acre airport neighborhood of exclusive hangar homes.

Doug Pelton of Aero Development seeks the change -- from employment to a rural residential designation of one house per 4 acres -- for his 20-unit Silverwing subdivision.

Pelton presented his proposal to the town council at its June 8 regular meeting. Three days earlier, on June 5, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the council decline Pelton's amendment request.

Councilors, P&Z commissioners and community leaders said they harbored concerns about the viability of the subdivision: The residential consumption of commercial land; the project's dependence on septic systems; the obstruction of Federal Aviation Administration funding for the Payson Municipal Airport; the impact on fire fighting services; and the potential complaints of neighbors.

"We've had problems in the past when helicopters come up and fight fires, which is very critical to our areas," said Vice Mayor Tim Fruth. "Who's the biggest complainers? The people who live in that area ... It looks like we're trying to build out an elitist community as we bring in a bunch of people that have a lot of money, living in one area, that have big airplanes and so on."

But Pelton disagreed, saying pilots who purchase the homes would sign aviation easements that prohibit them from objecting to aviation-related noise.

Pelton also said that employment opportunities on the north side of the airport -- where his subdivision is planned -- would be impractical and expensive because of inaccessibility.

"This notion of the town loosing employment is just not true," Pelton said. "There is an employment area that is in excess of what is required of the General Plan (because of a nearby, forthcoming land exchange)."

The town adopted the general plan as a long-range schematic that defines future land-use needs.

A general plan amendment and zoning are two different issues -- zoning designates present land use and generally segregates land that's incompatible and could harm existing neighborhoods or businesses.

The general plan, however, outlines future urban planning and defines a major amendment as: A substantial alteration of the municipality's land use mixture or balance.

Pelton's 51-acre property is actually zoned for rural residential now, but because his development will cover more than 20 acres, he must apply for a major amendment, as outlined in the general plan.

Pelton said that if the council denies his request, he'll use the existing residential zoning and build 16 homes on the 51 acres.

"Is it 16 homes discombobulated or 20 home planned in a methodical community supportive development?" said Pelton. "We are trying to be the good stewards of airport growth."

Contract with Star Valley

Also on Thursday night's council agenda, the towns of Payson and Star Valley could enter into a contract whereby the Payson Police Department will provide public safety services to its neighbor to the east.

Town Manager Fred Carpenter said town staff will ask the council to approve a $100,000 fee for the first year. State law requires new municipalities to provide certain services -- such as police, planning and zoning and animal control - by July 1 after incorporation.

Although processing might take a few weeks, both towns must get the ball rolling now to meet the July 1 deadline.

Time change

The council will also vote on changing its meetings to 5 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month. But Fruth said he's in favor of bumping the meetings up a half hour to 5:30 p.m.

"To be inclusive of the working individual," he said.

The approval of a slurry seal contract and improvement to the airport are also on the agenda.

The Payson Town Council will hold its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 22, in the council chambers, 303 N. Beeline Hwy.

Audience members wishing to follow the agenda should print their own from the Internet. As of Thursday, council meetings go paperless. For more information, contact Town Hall at (928) 474-5242.

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

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