Councilors Refuse To Untable Growth Ordinances

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Three growth-management ordinances that were tabled at the Nov. 2 Payson Town Council meeting remained there Thursday night.

Silence fell on the council when Mayor Bob Edwards asked for a motion to untable ordinances 694, 695 and 696.

The trio of ordinances wasn't listed when the agenda was released earlier this week. They were added, instead, during a last-minute addendum Wednesday.

Over the past two months, support for 694, 695 and 696 has soured among the majority of the town's elected officials. This trend is sustained by the councilors' desire to understand the economic impact of the growth-management ordinances, especially the pending artificial limitation on development.

A privately-funded economic impact study is under way, but its results are pending.

For now, the ordinances will stay tabled until one of four council members -- Su Connell, John Wilson, Andy Romance or Tim Fruth -- votes to remove the issue from the table.

In other council business, the zoning process for the Forest Edge subdivision at the end of Phoenix Street has been in the works for more than a year, but its progress is slow.

An application to approve the Forest Edge rezoning request came up for its first reading Thursday evening, and although the council didn't vote, they had questions for the developers.

"We've done everything to meet the needs of the citizens and the neighbors," said Terra Capital Group principal, Steve Carder.

The council used Terra Capital's pending project to leverage affordable/work force housing opportunities.

As Forest Edge progresses to the preliminary platting phase, community development staff has asked the developer to draft a proposal that outlines the contribution it will make to Payson's housing shortage. Specifically, staff recommendation directs Terra Capital to donate 10 to 20 percent of the lots or the cash equivalent to the town.

Principal Mark Perry said the town's request was unfair and inequitable. Perry said he would cooperate with the town's efforts to supply affordable housing within reason. The original Forest Edge project called for smaller lots, but subsequent revisions have increased lot size and cost.

Carder objected to a supermajority notice -- a rule that's invoked when more than 20 percent of the neighboring residents object to a rezoning application -- that was filed the day before the council meeting.

Carder said he wasn't notified, and therefore wasn't prepared to address the petition.

Vice Mayor Tim Fruth said the town should establish and formalize a process for receiving affordable housing contributions.

Meanwhile, Terra Capital did agree to develop the trails and trailheads that fall on the Forest Edge property, solve drainage issues and come up with appropriate housing donations.

Other council action:

  • The council voted five to two to change the town's organizational chart. The move will direct staff to abolish certain titles and move other positions underneath the town manager's direction.
  • The council also authorized the fire department to purchase a $417,563 firetruck.
  • Two new task forces were established to study the trails network and recycling.

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