Developers plan to build an upscale mobile home/RV, seniors-only resort on Doll Baby Ranch Road southwest of Payson, the Payson Town Council learned at its June 10 meeting.

The 158-acre Canyon River Ranch development will house 721 mobile home sites and space for RVs.

There will be little interaction between the town and the development, however, as the site lies in the county.

In his presentation to the council, developer Adam Pruett made it clear this development is not intended for workforce housing.

“Once you’re here you want to stay here. This is not a live-work environment,” he said.

Some of the amenities of the Canyon River Ranch resort include fuel and propane sales, restaurants, retail stores, and a 12,500-square-foot clubhouse with a pool and 5,600-square-foot “social event pavilion.”

The plan includes open space with walking paths, a fishing pond, pickleball and tennis courts, baseball/softball fields, basketball courts, dog parks and numerous community swimming pools with food and hospitality services.

“One more amenity that didn’t make this list is a concierge service,” said Pruett to drive home that this project is about luxury.

But the resort is also about “the more active lifestyle,” said Pruett.

Before the 2008 recession, developers had planned on building 116 cabins, so they asked for zoning from the county that would support that density. They put in the utility infrastructure before the financial crisis forced them to pull the plug on the project.

The Canyon River Partners is currently working its way through the Gila County rezoning process to increase that density, said Pruett.

The new resort won’t need water or sanitary district service as its water will come from wells and wastewater will be treated on site then used for landscaping. Solid waste will be hauled by a private company.

There are a couple of needs the resort has that cross with the town.

Residents will need to use a portion of Main Street to access Doll Baby Ranch Road.

That portion of the road is currently unpaved and serves as a low water crossing for the American Gulch that acts as a drainage for Main Street during storms.

The town and developers will work to realign that road and build a bridge to “provide permanent all-weather access” to the resort, town staff wrote in a memo to the council.

The developers are also in negotiations with the Payson Fire Department. If the resort forms a fire district, it will contract with the PFD to provide services. Numerous other Rim Country communities have the same sort of agreement with the fire department.

Although Doll Baby Ranch Road bisects the resort, all the interior roads will be private and maintained by a strong homeowners association.

Pruett assured the council “Doll Baby (Ranch Road) will remain an open public county road.”

The council members had no negative comments about the project.

Councilor Barbara Underwood said she is “so excited for the new development.”

Mayor Tom Morrissey said this is “kind of exactly what we need.”

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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(4) comments

Delphia Strickland

We need AFFORDABLE HOUSING for the people who work in the area, not more UNAFFORDABLE housing. I'm not looking forward to a boatload of big RVs and such going down Main and Country Club, which is only one lane in each direction. I realize it's in unincorporated areas, but the people it will impact should be allowed to voice their opinions before something like this goes in.

Mike White

High-density mobile home sites shouldn't be all that expensive. And this really has nothing to do with separate, unrelated project proposals from various developers to build high-density, lower-cost homes within the town.

Mike White

I recommend regional water table specialists look at whether having such a high number of residences pulling out well water there could impact the water table below Payson, i.e., whether the underground water sources are connected in any way.

Denise Ryan

First it was going to be luxury home sites. Then it was going to be luxury equine home sites. I find it interesting that suddenly there's enough water for over 700 home sites plus water features when years ago the developer tried to get a pass from the county regarding water concerns with just 119 home sites. There might be a potential for wells, but with the current drought conditions, I've extremely skeptical about just how much water they could actually generate.

Also, its surprising that there's no mention of talks with the Forest Service. The unpaved section of the road and the low water crossing mentioned are on the National Forest and they are the determining agency for permit, easement and approval of ant realignment is bridge construction. BTW, the Forest required that a bridge be built by the original proponent back in 2008, as well as other stipulations, which never happened.

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