There has been concern expressed about the future of the construction industry in Payson. Here are one councilman's views.
The recent actions of the Town Council indicate that there should be a change in direction. First, let me point out some facts, which tie into three major concerns -- water, growth, and affordable housing.
Water: There is no current water problem. There is sufficient water available to support our current population and moderate growth. There will be a long-term water problem if we do not take current action to plan for the future.
Growth: The current growth of Payson is not excessive. If you look at the building permits issued over the past several years, taking out the large multifamily complexes, we have not reached 250 units per year. The resolution just passed stating the goal to not exceed 250 permits per year is easily met.
Affordable housing: The 20 ERU limitation passed several years ago accomplished the intended purpose of slowing growth. The unintended consequence was making construction of low cost housing uneconomical. As a result, we have a severe shortage of "work force housing."
The 250 limitation on housing permits has an exception for work force housing. It also favors multi-unit housing by counting only half of the units against the limitation. This, coupled with the elimination of the 20 ERU water limitation, permits the town to consider each project on its own merits, with an eye to water availability.
The concept of a closed end "catalogue of projects in the pipeline" was rejected and replaced with a "Dynamic Reverence List." I view this similar to a Perth Path planning tool that the Town can use to identify what projects are being proposed, and project when building permits would be expected to be issued. This would let them know if the 250 limitation will need to be invoked.
If the economy and building plans of the various developers work as I envision it, the building economy will operate naturally, just as it has in the past.
This counts on the developers proceeding in their normal manner, without hurrying to get first in line to start building. They need to proceed judiciously to meet the demand for new housing without jeopardizing their bottom line by overbuilding.
They should also take a good look at changing their strategy to lower the cost of housing to meet the needs for our working class and still make a reasonable profit.