Town Policy May Suspend New Housing Projects

No-gate policy, 2nd roundabout, ballpark light shields, off-track betting also on agenda

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The Payson Town Council will take one of its preliminary steps toward creating a growth management policy that includes the suspension of new housing projects until Payson's water situation is determined.

To begin that process, the council will consider a catalog of subdivisions already in the planning phase.

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Payson Town Manager Fred Carpenter

Community Development Director Jerry Owen will present that list Thursday evening. Projects under consideration include applicants who have submitted a site plan and met with staff for review.

"(The motion) catalogs projects that are in the pipeline for purposes of growth development," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said.

If the motion is accepted, the council will use the list to formulate an approval strategy over the upcoming months.

Town staff has also added a personnel change and infrastructure projects to the agenda.

New position

The Payson Police Department requests a motion that will turn the current part-time dispatcher into a full-time position. Carpenter said the decision will save the department $2,000 in overtime. The change, said Police Commander Don Engler in his memo to the council, will alleviate stress and increase productivity.

Water saving

The water fixture retrofit program will get under way if the council approves a $74,000 request from Public Works Director Buzz Walker to replace existing fixtures with water-saving equipment.

The low-cost, low-water options will help residents and businesses upgrade everything from toilets, to washing machines to waterless urinals.

Some of the funding will be applied toward low-water landscape use.

Streets

The redesign of the long-discussed Mud Springs Road project, which calls for the planning of a roundabout, new striping and modifications to the sidewalk and bike lane, also comes up for discussion Thursday.

If the motion is passed, the council approves a $34,000 design plan -- a process estimated at 120 days -- submitted by Payson-based engineering firm Tetra Tech.

Once this step is completed, the construction of phase 1 can begin on the street extension, which begins at Frontier Elementary School and goes to Granite Dells Road.

The total project budget is $800,000, and if all proceeds as planned, construction will begin May 2007.

A no-gate policy also makes its way to the council's Thursday evening agenda.

An approval of this motion will modify the town's Uniform Building Code to prohibit the installation of vehicle gates, those controlling traffic into and out of neighborhoods.

These restrictions will apply to public, private and local streets.

The premise of this proposal, according to Owen's memo to the council, will encourage traffic flow and a more cohesive community. The cons, he added, might lessen security and lower property values.

Park lights

Residents affected by the bright lights emanating from Rumsey Park will have the opportunity to address their concerns. Bill Schwind, parks and recreation director, wrote in a memo to the council, that he plans to retrofit these lights with special light-shading shields.

The $11,000 upgrade will prevent the brightness from escaping ball field lights. Residents who support the change are encouraged to attend.

Nonprofits

After it cut nonprofit spending by 20 percent -- from $80,000 to $65,000 -- June 16, the council is considering a resolution that updates the delineation of contributions.

These beneficiary agencies provide services not available through the town. The first disbursement at $6,600 a month goes to the Payson Humane Society.

Other agencies receiving town money include the Senior Center, Time Out Shelter, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Rim Country Literacy Program and the Historical Society of Northern Gila County.

Greyhound racing

The Oxbow Saloon has applied for a permit to operate off-track betting on greyhound racing.

If approved, the Oxbow will join another off-track wagering facility, Famous Sam's, which offers horse racing.

The town council will meet 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Payson Town Hall.

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