Council: Payson Residents might be Wary of 15-Story Building

Council: Payson Residents might be Wary of 15-Story Building

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PAYSON, Utah (AP) -- This city of 13,000 is getting its first skyscraper, and officials are worried residents don't understand how tall it will be.

The 15-story natural gas-powered electric power plant is now under construction just off the Payson Interstate 15 exit 254. The 17 cities that make up the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems own the plant and will share the power it generates.

The building will be about 100 feet tall and crowned with a 50-foot waste-heat release stack. City Councilwoman Jan Tanner fears residents are unprepared for its looming presence.

The nearest home is a block away, and a housing subdivision is four blocks away.

"We need to let them know the elephant is coming before the elephant arrives," Tanner said.

The plant has been discussed for years at City Council meetings but no one had every really made it clear how large the structure would be until now, she said.

"I think the tallest thing now is the McDonald's sign," said Payson development director Glade Robbins.

Up to half a dozen cranes are at the site awaiting the arrival of a gas turbine engine that will be one of the major components of the plant. The turbine was expected to arrive via rail Monday or Tuesday.

The plant is one of only two sites in Utah County ever to have requested state permission to reuse sewer effluent. The city now has an application into the Utah Division of Environmental Quality requesting to use 5,000 acre-feet of treated sewer effluent annually; 1,100 of that would be used as coolant for the plant, with the rest going toward city irrigation, Crump said.

An acre-foot of water is about 326 gallons.

The state has yet to grant the rare permit because it is "nervous," Robbins said. The Provo River Water User's Association and the federal Bureau of Reclamation are protesting the permit and want public hearings on it.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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