This is an open letter to the Star Valley mayor and town council:
I am writing to you today regarding the recent meeting that was held when Payson Mayor Kenny Evans and the Payson town attorney talked about annexing Forest Service land and the Fox Farm land for an industrial park.
Does anybody remember why Star Valley became a town? It was to save our water! Some kind of deal was made with Payson and the Tower Well piped Star Valley water, up hill, to Payson! What happened? That water is now watering the golf course at The Rim Club. Mayor Kenny Evans stated in a recent Roundup that Payson does not have a water problem. That is because of the Tower Well!
My husband and I own land at the very end of Moonlight Drive. We are approximately one-half mile from the Fox Farm. We have owned our land since 1978. Before Bert Sprague Sr. (a local historian) died, he told us that records going back to 1895 showed that Houston Creek had never stopped running. And now, as of June 30, 2014, Houston Creek has stopped! During the last five years, since the Tower Well has been operating, the flow in Houston Creek has been gradually getting worse, to the point now that it has stopped! If Payson thinks that the Tower Well will supply the water it needs for an industrial park at the Fox Farm, it is gravely mistaken.
There are very few riparian areas left in Arizona — 90 percent of them are gone. 90 percent of species depend on riparian areas and the wildlife here on Houston Creek depends on it from Star Valley to Gisela. If an industrial park is permitted to be built at the Fox Farm, the Tower Well will completely dry up properties along Houston Creek and Moonlight Drive. All of the huge trees will die, and then people’s wells will go dry. Please do not let this happen!
Why on earth doesn’t Payson want to use the industrial land that is available on Airport Road? It has been designated for this in the past 10-year plan, and the current 10-year plan. Why have a plan if you do not follow it?
When Chaparral Pines came into existence, it was allowed to use water from Mayfield Canyon. It was supposed to be temporary and to be replaced by effluent. That never happened. They have continued pumping and now Mayfield Canyon and its riparian area are dead!
I was deeply saddened when I heard Payson’s town attorney say that it is basically a “done deal” with or without Star Valley’s approval! In my opinion, the only thing that should be built on the Fox Farm land is homes or a park. That land, and the national forest adjacent to it, has some of the most beautiful scenery in the Tonto National Forest.
Trees, running water, wildlife — isn’t that why we live here? Isn’t that why the tourists come here? These riparian areas are our most valuable resources. Are we going to sit by and let these beautiful riparian areas die? Payson has said that it only uses the Tower Well for emergencies. Please know that the Tower Well is pumping large amounts of water daily — their electric bill is over $5,000 a month!
I beg you to somehow stop this travesty!
Claire Ann Waitz