The trial period is over and the cat condo peddler has been given a one-year extension.
Bill Winn, who sells homemade cat furniture to supplement his Social Security income, captured the hearts of Rim Country residents last spring when the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission told him he could no longer sell his wares in front of the Best Western Inn of Payson after being a familiar fixture at the Beeline Highway location for three years.
Winn was denied a conditional use permit when the commission tied 3-3.
He was forced to peddle his cat condos in front of a laundromat in Star Valley, and sales plummeted.
But he appealed his case to the Payson Town Council, which granted him permission to move back to the Best Western Inn pending a review by the planning commission before March 15.
That review came Monday, March 6, at which time the commission unanimously approved a one-year extension of Winn's conditional use permit, with a review at the conclusion to consider another extension.
"We had voted not to let him do it, and then the council overturned us," planning commissioner Barbara Underwood said. "When it came before us (this time) there were no complaints. So, I guess we all approved it again."
When the commission originally rejected Winn, it was because of a complaint and letter writing campaign by Nicholas Brotcke who owns Pioneer Village Trading Post at 1117 N. Beeline Highway (the Inn of Payson is located at 801 N. Beeline Highway). He argued that granting Winn a permit would be a dangerous precedent.
"If you allow these ... businesses to continue," Brotcke wrote in a letter dated Oct. 25, 2004, "then they will only multiply into dozens of undesired swap meeters to disgrace and shame our beautiful community."
Underwood said she was surprised Brotcke didn't return for this round.
"The reason he fought in the beginning, and I kind of was on his side, was because of the zoning part of it," she said. "It takes away the zoning on his C-3 property."
Winn was grateful for the extension.
"I want to thank the commission, and I'm looking for a way to thank all the Payson people," he said. "There were an awful lot of people in this town of Payson who were for me.
"They called down there and called down there (to Payson Town Hall). They got sick of people calling down there."
Together, Winn, a retired carpenter, and his wife, a retired nurse, get about $1,100 per month from Social Security. Judging from the phone calls, letters received by the Roundup and an informal survey conducted by Councilor Dick Reese, Winn's plight drew considerable sympathy from a community comprised of a large percentage of retirees.