Councilor Pushes For Town Center Plan Before Market Dictates Area's Feel

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During a work session Tuesday night, the Star Valley Town Council discussed what the town could look like in the future.

The possibility of a future town center and/or visitors center was the idea of councilor William Heath.

Heath said there is a major piece of land that is up for sale in the town center, and added the Freegards have put up a sign indicating a desire to sell 15 acres of their property.

He said watching a parcel of 20 acres be sold off and not knowing how the land will be used is a major concern.

The town, he said, needs to decide what type of a town center it wants, mentioning a big-box store or a people-friendly, family-friendly water-efficient business that residents and tourists will visit.

The town should not leave these decisions to real estate agents, because the land sold could be turned into residential homes.

Mayor Chuck Heron wondered if this issue could be placed in the town's general plan. Currently, four people have told the town they could work on the plan. Heath, though, said a town center plan should be more focused.

Councilor Mary Ann Kotelnicki thought the town was moving too quickly on this issue.

"We are not quite a year old," she said. "We would like to keep Star Valley a rural community. I really think the (development of a town center) is a bit premature."

Heath said he wanted to see a resolution that states what the community would like to work toward.

Councilor Bill Rappaport agreed with Heath that the town should take steps on the town center plan soon.

"What we decide can determine what Star Valley can look like," Rappaport said.

"We need some type of a mission statement to say what we want Star Valley to look for."

Heath said the town needs to find some people who want to serve on a committee to find out what the people in the community want.

Heath also talked about a potential alternate highway route that would bypass the towns of Payson and Star Valley, saying the town needs to get behind the idea.

While it may take 20 years to build, it would be a benefit to their children and grandchildren, he said.

He pointed to a resolution Payson adopted in March on the bypass and wondered if Star Valley should do the same.

"There is going to be a lot of work involved on this," he said. "There are a lot of hurdles."

Heath said he believes the town needs to get involved because it wants the bypass to be east of Star Valley.

"There is no feasibility study," Heath said. "Right now, the ball is not even on the playing field. If this is not done, we could be gridlocked.

"I think what we need to do is join the fight."

Vice Mayor Randy White thought the council should wait until it meets again with the Payson Town Council.

In other news, the Star Valley Town Council:

  • Entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Gila County for election services.
  • Had its first reading of an ordinance that would change the time of its regular meetings from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The meetings will still be on the first and third Tuesday of the month.

-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail mmaresh@payson.com.

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