New Subdivision Eyed

Neighbors fret about possible impacts


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.


Dan Haapala 2 years, 8 months ago

In my opinion, with more facts to learn, this seems to be a win win for the Town. Payson has for years tried make a back door to Rumsey and Library as well as an easir access to Wal Mart and town hall for the west side. Logically it should remove a lot of traffic from McLane.

Every established neighborhood in Payson has had someone speak out about change, yet change has come and change will contninue. Most fears have been unfounded.

My questions are these: Will this development company take advantage of local workers and companies?

Will these residences be affordable to locals?

Will it attract more good people to Payson and the good life here?

Will the Town be receptive to a step in the right direction, ie: prosperity for the community, or find ways to slow it down? Just my thoughts and opinions.


Art Goodoy 2 years, 8 months ago

Drive down any street in Payson and more than likely you will encounter a for sale sign. The amount of inventory available within the town is astonishing. What is even more astonishing, is the idea that a developer wants to build 200 additional homes in this small town. The sad part is, the town Council will probably approve this development, because of the tax revenue. These short-term gains in revenue may ultimately lead to yet another development full of for-sale signs. I would be more encouraged if the city Council decided to limit the number of building permits issued, and instead focused on restoring and rejuvenating existing neighborhoods that we have.


Gary Laatsch 2 years, 8 months ago

I am with Art on this, I have only lived in Payson (part time) for the last 5 years but first drove through this wonderful town in 1974. if you look around, as mentioned, there is plenty of unsold real estate available in our town. I know of at least two unfinished development as well right across the street from the Police Station. The foundations are poured but no structures on at least 2 pads there. The other is when you first turn on to Colcord from Longhorn on the left side. A small cul-de-sac that is unfinished. I am sure there are some others if you look around. Do we really want growth here? That is the other question. My opinion, which is worth about 2 cents.


Meria Heller 2 years, 8 months ago

Where are the jobs for all those "homes"? Opening up Forest Park Dr to more traffic is ridiculous. We have NO sidewalks, no speed bumps and no one stops for stop signs as it is. It is a quiet residential area that will NOT become a speedway for homes in such high density. Let them drive THROUGH Walmart instead. Expect a crowd at the town meeting on this one.


Gary Laatsch 2 years, 7 months ago

we have a spot that still has trees within city limits...can't have that! :-)

I just looked up where Forest Park Dr is and I feel sorry for you if they open this. I live on Manzanita Dr in Payson North and it is a main back road for locals since it leads to Zurich, Malibu and indirectly over to the Bashas and Safeway centers....I sit on my porch and watch the people blow the stop all the time. Also as you mentioned, people seem to feel the need to see how fast they can get to 45mph even tough its a 25mph zone....good thing we dont have too many kids by us. scary


Meria Heller 2 years, 8 months ago

By the way the zoning "signs" on the property don't allude to new streets and quadplexes (apartments) just 150-155 single family detached homes. So is that an out and out LIE?


Pat Randall 2 years, 7 months ago

There are already 2 story multiple housing units in the area. All of you people that are complaining, did you buy 10 or 14 year old homes when you came here or did you look for a nice new subdivision that upset other people? Everyone wants something but not in their backyards. Who is going to pay for restoring and rejuvenating the older homes? Limit the number of building permits and you are stopping employment. You can't have it all ways.


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