Design Review Board Updates Guidelines For Payson

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"I'm frustrated. It's been a year, and we've got 10 pages" worth of guidelines on how Payson ought to look, said Jeanie Langham, member of Design Review Board (DRB), at the July 8 meeting.

The seven board members discussed their effort to update and amend the town's Design Review Guidelines, which they presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday.

While some members said the board should have developed more than 10 pages of guidelines, others said DRB's proposed document was the first step and not the end product.

"It's a process. This is not a do it once and never do it again," said Tim Wright, deputy town attorney.

In the meeting, the board selected photos of buildings and landscaping to include in the guidelines, hoping to draft guidelines for builders that relied more heavily on illustrations than on words. The DRB has only been in existence for a year and in that time has struggled with complex issues, including efforts to come up with colors for buildings, landscaping standards, water conservation and native plant restrictions, facades and a host of other requirements that affect the look of new construction.

Before an applicant begins construction, the design review board must approve the plans on issues like the appearance of buildings and landscaping. The town council assigned the design review board to evaluate the current guidelines and to make necessary changes if possible.

If approved by the planning commission, the revised standards will move on to the council for further evaluation.

Each DRB member is specialized in various professions and brings to the group extensive expertise.

That includes architects, interior designers, landscapers and business owners.

Members include: Chairman Bernard Lieder, a registered architect with 47 years of experience, including 30 years as a real estate broker; Vice Chair Barbara Underwood, a former planning commissioner and business owner; Susan McIntyre an engineer and builder with 20 years experience; Jeanie Langham, an interior designer, real estate agent and past member of the Historic Preservation Conservation Committee; Mareena Cords, owner of Iron Horse Signs and a National Sign Council member; Bill Ensign, past Parks and Recreation Board member and head of Friends of Payson Parks and former head of Scottsdale Parks, with a degree in plant science; and Deborah Hughes, a Realtor and past director of the Central Arizona Board of Realtors.

The board is hoping to add additional expertise to that core group and is currently seeking applications and resumes for citizens who want to serve on the board.

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