County facilities vote is Tuesday: Payson AZ Roundup, 11/2/07

Storage owner at odds with county

By Erin Turner

Paul Pollock plans to live on Main Street for the rest of his life.

He and his brother, Robin, are building a home atop the Payson Mini Storage for themselves and their mother to share.

He likes the idea of having restaurants, shops and entertainment within walking distance.

His family has owned the mini storage for more than two decades.

There's just one problem with his dream - it coincides with the county's plan to acquire his land for the county facilities renovation project.

If voters approve the two ballot measures to fund the new jail and courthouse on the current site at Highway 87 and Main Street, the county would need to acquire land to the west, up to the Main Street Grille.

Pollock's mini storage sits between the Main Street Grille and Chris Smith Investments. His would be the last property acquired for the project.

"What they're asking the public to do is steal someone's private property, so they can save some money," Pollock said.

"We have future plans for this property. It is an ill-thought, ill-conceived plan. Why don't they put it somewhere where there isn't anything?"

Pollock said he opposes the county's plan to use eminent domain to acquire his land and the land to the east of his property, including the land Chris Smith Investments and Napa Auto Parts occupy.

"For eminent domain to work (the county) has to prove two things - that the project is essential and that where they want to build it, there is no other place to build it," he said. "They can't prove that. It's unthinkable." Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin said besides Pollock, the other property owners are willing to relocate for the project.

"It's not about putting people out of business," she said. "It's about relocating them."

Pollock said he and his family plan to fight the county on the issue of eminent domain.

"We plan to vigorously challenge this thing," he said.

"If they pay me to leave, it's going to cost more than the whole budget they have for all of the properties," he said.

Martin said if the county is forced to resort to eminent domain proceedings and incurs that extra expense, the cost of the project would still be lower than other sites.

"It's still cheaper than buying another location and putting in the infrastructure and the 36,000 square feet that we're already in," she said.

Pollock said another issue he has with the plan is the lack of space for future expansion.

"(The county) is landlocked once they get this project done," he said. "Why can't they find a place where they're not landlocked?"

Despite the potential conflict with his property, Pollock said he supports the need for new facilities.

"I have nothing against the project," he said. "They just should've been planning all along. The objection is the county's bad manners, not the project."

Other objections from Citizens for Fair Taxation include:
  • The method of funding, or requiring taxpayers to foot the bill, rather than the county re-examining its budget.
  • The location on Main Street and the Beeline Highway.
  • Fair Taxation Chair Leon Keddington said the proposed location in Payson could be better used for commercial businesses or shops.

Payson AZ Roundup: http://www.paysonroundup.com