A propane company received the green light Monday from Payson’s Planning and Zoning Commission to go ahead with plans to seek approval to build a storage facility and sales office near the airport.
Griffin’s Propane has offices in Safford, Show Low and New Mexico and wants to expand into Payson.
The company currently leases a lot in Rye and services some 600 commercial and residential customers in Rim Country. They were planning to build a permanent office in Rye when Griffin’s Propane manager Jon Brotz learned the Town of Payson was interested in having them build in town.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Brotz said. “Usually (towns) are trying to push people like us away.”
That was some three months ago and Brotz has since located two empty lots at 1315 W. Red Baron Road in the Skypark Industrial subdivision.
“There are not too many areas that you can put a propane plant in,” he said.
The business is looking at constructing a new sales and distribution center at the site, which is bordered by industrial properties and another vacant lot, far from homes.
The site is just 1,000 feet from the end of the airport runway though, a fact that didn’t sway a planning official’s decision to recommend the Planning and Zoning Commission approve a conditional use permit Monday.
“Although it is somewhat close, the site is to the southwest from the end of the runway and take-offs and landings are to the west and northwest,” wrote Donny Wilbanks, a planning technician with the town.
The site will store large, 120-gallon and larger propane tanks, equipment, a sales office and a 30,000-gallon propane tank for refueling. Wilbanks wrote that the height of the large storage tank could make it susceptible to lightning strikes.
Brotz said the tank would be grounded and he had never had any issues with other tanks in the past.
Brotz said the sales office would offer propane appliances and outdoor cookware for sale and would be open in late summer if everything goes as planned.
The site is not for small tank exchange or refilling, so the traffic level should be low to moderate, he said.
The company opened a temporary office in Rye more than a year ago and hadn’t looked at opening an office in Payson until after Brotz met with town officials.
While there are a number of companies in town that offer propane services, Brotz said they are priced right to compete.
The planning commission said they were happy to have a new business coming to town.
The company still needs to get approval from the Design Review Board and secure permits before construction can begin.