Council Debates Fire Code Changes

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Any notion of wrapping up the 2007 council season with brevity was quickly dashed in another marathon meeting of the Payson Council.

The council heard an update on negotiations with the YMCA from Parks and Recreation Director Rick Manchester, and council members want another review of the town's fire code before allowing for any exceptions.

Manchester said he is working with YMCA officials and the Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation on the development of a management agreement, instead of a lease agreement, for up to five acres at Rumsey Park, likely near Taylor Pool.

Talks include the possibility of a 20-year management agreement with three successive five-year options for a 7,500-square-foot gymnasium. The YMCA would potentially cover Taylor Pool to make it a year-round facility.

The negotiations tentatively center on a 60-40 usage of the facilities, with the Town of Payson having access 40 percent of the time, Manchester said.

Manchester reminded the council that nothing has been officially decided and negotiations are ongoing. He said he would consistently provide updates to the council as they occur.

The council has not voted on any part of an agreement with YMCA officials and has only consented on entering negotiations thus far.

The council unanimously approved an application for a liquor license for a proposed steak house and microbrewery at 104 W. Phoenix Street.

The council then overturned, by a 6-1 vote, a decision denying a building permit for the restaurant by the Planning and Zoning Commission. P and Z denied the permit, due to a perceived contamination of area water sources by the usage of a well by the restaurant's owner. The owner, Mary Suzanne Malinski, has agreed to cap off the well and will use water from the Payson Water Department in her restaurant operation.

Councilor Ed Blair cast the dissenting vote.

In other news, the council:

  • Voted unanimously to direct staff to help the owner of the Red Elephant Bakery work with the Building Advisory Commission to abide by the fire code.

If the Building Advisory Commission denies the exception to the code, disallowing the Red Elephant to operate without a large hood, the issue will return to the council.

The owner of the Red Elephant, Leoni Dobbins, uses an oven for small, baked items and soup. Current town code requires the use of a large hood in kitchens.

The hood and its installation could cost as much as $20,000, Payson Fire Chief Marti deMasi said.

After comments from Councilor Mike Vogel, Building Official Ray LaHaye and deMasi in opposition to changing the town code, the council opted to send the case to the BAC for review.

"Those codes are in place because someone died," said Vogel, who is a former firefighter.

  • Approved the initiation of negotiations to develop the scope and fee with the Cleland Group for the design development phase of the Payson Event Center.

Cleland Group was selected by the Payson Event Center Technical Advisory Committee in November. The group reviewed applications and qualifications of several architectural firms before deciding on Cleland.

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