Payson Council May Consider 7-Story Heights

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Should Payson allow seven-story business and apartment buildings?

If so, where would you put them?

The Payson Town Council this Thursday is slated to decide whether it even wants to think about such a politically charged topic.

The council agenda includes a question by acting planning director Ray Erlandsen as to whether the council wants to consider 5- to 7-story buildings in town, with a maximum height of 75 feet. The proposal represents the town’s latest effort to figure out a way to attract convention and resort hotels or perhaps low- or moderate-income apartment housing.

“Informal discussions with several land owners, developers and real estate professionals have shown there is potential for attracting multi-family housing constructions, larger hotel chains and other potential mixed use development if increased building heights were possible,” Erlandsen wrote.

Erlandsen’s memo to the council asked merely for the council to direct the planning staff to work up a proposal and to provide direction on what areas of town such zoning might cover.

The council has wrestled repeatedly with concerns about the price of housing in Payson, since studies showed that the average worker couldn’t afford to buy the average house in town.

Councilor Richard Croy already tried to get the council to consider allowing much smaller lots, in hopes of building affordable condos or townhouses. However, beset by protests every time increasing densities for existing lots is discussed, the council shied away from even considering that idea.

The proposal now would include commercial properties — including zoning for hotels and resorts on which many councilors have pinned the town’s economic hopes for the future.

If the council likes the idea, it would be the first step in a long process that would require many public hearings to first change the town’s zoning ordinance and then to change the zoning for individual parcels.

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