Zoning for a new solar energy plant and funds to train county corrections officers are just two key measures among dozens the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will consider at their meeting today.
With an agenda of more than 40 action items, as well as numerous addenda, the panel’s formal meeting will be hosted 9:30 a.m. in the Supervisors’ Auditorium, 205 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix.
Newly appointed board chairman Clint Hickman, who represents District 4, will preside over the first formal meeting of 2020. He said public participation in government is crucial to ensure transparency and accountability.
“My colleagues and I realize coming to downtown Phoenix in the middle of the work week isn’t practical for most people. That’s why I’d encourage residents to watch our board meetings online, either live or at their convenience,” Mr. Hickman told Daily Independent Tuesday. “Getting more people involved in local government is one way we can make 2020 a year of record participation in our democracy.”
The board’s proceedings will be streamed live at the board’s YouTube channel.
Videos are typically archived at the site up to five days after each meeting.
County officials have requested additional funding — not to exceed $146,910 — for training and coaching Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Custody Bureau staffers.
The training, provided by private contractors from MJ Martin, Inc. through a “competition impracticable” procurement, will enable MCSO to complete its transition to a new inmate supervision model called “direct supervision.”
“MCSO has received technical assistance and coaching from facilitators of the National Institute of Corrections since May in preparation for the transition in 2020 to a new jail facility that will be managed in a totally new way,” officials stated in their request narrative.
Direct supervision is an evidence-based practice previously implemented at corrections facilities across the country — including the Arizona Department of Corrections — which focuses on close interaction between staffers and inmates to improve safety.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Corrections advocates for direct supervision as a key element of strategic inmate management.
“Direct supervision combines two key elements — the physical design of a jail and an inmate management strategy — to significantly reduce the problem inmate behavior commonly seen in jails. Direct supervision jails focus on actively managing inmate behavior to produce a jail that is safe and secure for inmates, staff, and visitors,” the agency states at its website, nicic.gov.
The total cost of training MCSO’s more than 400 officers and supervisors through the department’s transition, which started in May 2019, was estimated at up to $246,910.
A group of owners operating under the name Papago, LLC seeks a land use change to allow development of a solar power generating and storage facility south of Interstate 10 about six miles west of Tonopah.
The facility will generate 300 megawatts of AC power and provide up to 1,200 megawatt-hours of power storage capacity, according to application.
“The project would provide solar power to utility customers by interconnecting to the nearby regional electricity grid at Arizona Public Service’s existing Delaney Substation, which is adjacent to the proposed project,” the project applicant stated in the request.
If approved, the facility will be situated on nine parcels totaling 2,791 acres. Among the property owners are Demuro Harquahala, Capital Power, Land4Less US LLC, Kopec Family Properties, LLC and Hickman’s Egg Ranch, Inc.
County board chairman Clint Hickman serves as vice president of sales and marketing for the family owned egg producer, which is headquartered in Buckeye, according to the company’s website, hickmaneggs.com.
The project is expected to take up to 18 months to complete and will employ between 240 and 480 workers over the course of construction.
Once operational, the facility will employ up to 20 permanent full-time facility management staffers; up to 25 regular part-time employees for routine maintenance; and up to 40 intermittent positions for equipment repair and replacement.
Set to rise in the shadow of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station, the nation’s largest nuclear power plant, the new solar project will provide emission-free, renewable energy for the foreseeable future, according to project planners.
“The project’s size, scope, and location define it as a responsible development with significant potential to provide renewable energy on an ongoing basis, while reducing emissions and providing benefits to regional air quality. The project represents a well-sited alternative energy generation facility,” according to the general comprehensive plan amendment request.
The supervisors will review conceptual plans for the redevelopment of Royal Oaks Life Care properties located at the southwest corner of Royal Oaks Boulevard and 99th Avenue in Sun City.
“Royal Oaks has been and will be offering a continuum of senior living housing options and care on this Site for many years. The ongoing development of the site is necessary to keep the community up to date with high-quality buildings, open space areas and amenities,” the project owner stated in its application.
Incorporating recently acquired parcels — including the previous home of this newspaper, formerly known as Daily News-Sun — the project would involve demolition of some existing facilities to accommodate construction of new structures totaling more than 354,000 square feet of interior space.
The project favors the “age in place” concept, with a broad range of accommodations for retirees of all ages and needs — from large, two-story, luxury independent retirement villas to smaller private suites, where residents will receive comprehensive care.
Community amenities will include an underground parking facility, wellness center, bar, restaurant and dining room.
A detailed formal site plan will follow approval of the rezoning request, for consideration and potential approval by the Planning & Zoning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
Construction is planned for a single phase to begin late this year.