Town Needs Space For Businesses

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The patient sits in your office, unhappy about a broken arm.

Unfortunately, the X-ray reveals something much worse — a bone tumor.

Do you set the arm and send the fellow on his way.

Or do you treat the tumor?

Well, if you’re the Payson Planning Commission, you have the good sense to pay more attention to the potentially fatal tumor instead of the crack in the bone.

At least, that’s one way to look at the comments of the commissioners yesterday when they listened patiently to nearly three hours of homeowner complaints about the possible extension of Sherwood and Wagon Trail and then focused intently on the real problem with the proposed general plan amendment for the airport land exchange property.

In truth, the town’s economic future critically depends on the decisions the commission, and then the council, make on the general plan designation for the 220 acres recently exchanged with the Forest Service.

The town must ensure an adequate supply of light industrial zoned property. The current proposal actually reduces the amount of land designated from about 87 acres to 57 acres. If anything, the town should take this opportunity to boost the total above the current 87 acres.

That land offers perhaps the only space the town will ever have to locate a crucial category of businesses. Unless the town can recruit innovative businesses that pay good wages, we’ll become a dreadfully lopsided town of retirees and hamburger flippers.

The applicants emphasized residential development — and the town certainly needs apartments to provide work force housing. But as the commissioners observed — first you need the work force.

Of course, we also sympathize with the homeowners concerned about how through traffic will affect their quiet neighborhood. We hope the town will reconsider previous traffic studies and if the projections allow, remove the steep, hilly extension of Sherwood from the general plan.

But we were heartened that the commissioners yesterday focused on the deadly mutation rather than the fracture. And we hope that by the meeting next Monday, the applicants have a treatment plan that goes beyond stitches and results in a healthy town.

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