Anderson dispute resolved, MUSD moves forward on 2nd high school site

MUSD iseconds seeking to buy the Cortona property from the Maricopa 240 investment LLC.

Plans for another high school are reportedly back on track in Maricopa Unified School District after a meeting of minds over a pesky pesticide covenant.

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Superintendent Tracey Lopeman said the district received the necessary paperwork from Kelly Anderson, managing partner of Anderson Palmisano Farms, which neighbors the site desired by the district at the corner of Murphy and Farrell roads.

The covenant was part of the “due diligence” that had to be completed before the district could move forward on the property which is owned by Maricopa 240 LLC.

“We had a very productive meeting,” Lopeman said.

Board President AnnaMarie Knorr had asked the administration to reach out again to the Anderson family after a hitting a stalemate over the issue. Other surrounding property owners had signed the pesticide covenant earlier.

Some acreage of the Anderson Palmisano Farms had originally been offered as a possibility for the second high school but was withdrawn. Board member Torri Anderson, who is married to Kelly Anderson, had recused herself from the property selection because of the conflict of interest.

There was a standing argument over lack of communication between district representatives and the Andersons, and that continued at a September board meeting.

Afterward, however, Kelly Anderson said the school attorney had reached out again and he hoped for resolution.

Lopeman called it a worthwhile meeting.

“A very positive conversation and collaboration,” she said.

That allowed some regrouping in design and engineering.

“We got a little delayed on the site, but we put a makeup plan together,” said Mark Rafferty of Facilities Management Group, which is managing the project.

Rafferty updated the governing board at its Wednesday meeting. He said escrow is closing Oct. 27. That will be “rolled into” a School Facilities Board purchase application the next day, to be voted on by SFB Nov. 4.

He said architects and engineers completed the second phase of building design. Site design had been delayed a couple months, so site design development and construction documents will be done concurrently.

Testing at the site showed no residual effects of previous pesticide use that would require remediation, Rafferty noted.

He said there were some Adjacent Ways requirements by the City of Maricopa that are “unresolved if not unresolvable.” A meeting with city staff is scheduled next with hopes of finding a resolution. The district and the City must find a resolution to code stipulations before the project can move toward full engineering.

At the end of Wednesday meeting, the board met in closed session to further discuss the land purchase.