For the first time in years, developers want to build a new subdivision in Payson.
Construction of Timber Ridge could start late next year behind Walmart in what is now an undeveloped, wooded area cut with trails that people use to get from North McLane Road to Walmart.
“As you know, there hasn’t been a development like this in Payson for a very long time, so the good news is that the market is coming back and is strong enough to support our investment in the property,” said Aidan Barry, president of True Life Companies.
The project would not only bring 150 new homes, but also make Rumsey Drive a through street to Walmart.
Forest Park Drive would also go through where it now dead-ends off Longhorn.
Some homeowners worry extending those streets will turn their quiet neighborhoods into busy thoroughfares.
“You are basically creating a hazard for an existing residential area,” said one resident. “With a lot of traffic it would be inherently dangerous.”
True Life Companies officials told residents at a library meeting last week the company will meet all requirements of the town’s general plan, which calls for completing those streets.
Brad Bielenberg, OTAK landscape architect and developer of the site plan, said a traffic analysis showed potential traffic volume would be 1,400 cars. This caused some homeowners to gasp. One man said he worried the traffic will endanger children who walk from the high school and middle school.
Others said they didn’t want to see so many homes built in an area where most homes currently sit on bigger lots.
Barry said the developer would take all of the homeowners’ concerns to the town as part of their application process.
Barry said he understood the homeowners’ fears. “Anytime I come into a property like this that has been sitting for awhile, any change is scary. So I flat understand that and I am extremely sympathetic to that and we want to hear your concerns,” he said.
Still, Barry assured residents the company would follow the town’s zoning codes and development rules.
“When we come into a property like this we look at what the town’s designation is for the site. It is planned for a residential development. It is planned at a range of five to 18 units per acre ... We are currently at the bottom end of that density.”
True Life said it envisions three phases of development, starting with duplexes and quadplexes at the southern end of the lot. The homes would range in size from 1,400 to 1,800 square feet at a density of about 5.8 dwelling units per acre.
On the northern side, single-family detached homes or “cottages” would average about 1,350 to 2,100 square feet in size at a density of 5.3 dwelling units per acre. In the center of the project along Rumsey Drive, townhomes as large as 1,600 square feet would line a busy street, with driveways on an alley and not on Rumsey Drive.
Overall, the project would remain below the maximum density allowed in the zoning ordinance.
In addition, OTAK’s plan calls for preserving 80 percent the mature trees on the lot. On the southern end, that includes several large stands of ponderosa pine, oak and juniper. The fire-prone scrub oak and manzanita will be removed.
In all, of the 3,700 trees, 2,500 will stay. About 500 have to go because they are dead or diseased, Bielenberg said.
The development will include several small, community parks, tree-lined streets, sidewalks and bike lanes, with 20 percent of the lot devoted to open space.
Bielenberg said the community will fit well into the area, which is bordered by a mix of development. To the north and west are single-family homes, to the east is Walmart and a vacant lot that extends to Highway 87 (True Life’s lot does not extend out to the Beeline). To the south lies industrial zoning, with apartments on the southwest.
Barry assured the neighbors that the traffic will not exceed the capacity of the streets and the developers will make any changes requested by the town.
“We believe we have come up with a good roadway design, a safe roadway design,” he said.
He said the town may ask True Life to build a roundabout at Rumsey Drive and McLane.
True Life plans to hold several more community meetings as the project progresses. If approved by the town, the project would take up to three years to build out.