Maricopa may have moved one step closer to solving one flood-control issue while avoiding the responsibility of a floodplain administrator.
The city council unanimously approved an amendment to the Sorrento Planned Area Development at its meeting Tuesday. That involves an area along the planned North Santa Cruz Wash, which is intended to carry water out of the area.
“Sorrento has agreed to become part of the North Santa Cruz Wash, which means they will be treated like other landowners,” city attorney Denis Fitzgibbons said. “They’ve agreed to donate their property for free to become the North Santa Cruz Wash channel. We don’t have to go through any type of condemnation process. But it also gives Sorrento the opportunity to go forward if they decide to go forward before the entire channel is built.”
The agreement, which was originally signed in 2009, clarifies the city will not be the floodplain administrator for the PAD. The agreement was originally signed in 2009.
Sorrento is in east Maricopa off Hartman Road and Bowlin.
Joshua Babb, who lives in Sorrento and is running for a council seat, asked the council to wait on its decision on the amendment. Instead of leaving it to developers and Pinal County, he said it was the opportunity for the city to take the lead in flood control and act an administrator now “instead of later towards consolidating the city’s floodplain issues under the city and really taking a look at that local control.
“This is the perfect opportunity to start and gain that control,” he said. “Make a good decision based off the future of the city.”
Fitzgibbons said though Sorrento would like the city to be the floodplain administrator, it is not yet possible.
“Unfortunately at this time the City of Maricopa does not have that expertise,” he said. “Pinal County serves that role.”
He called the Sorrento property an important piece in completing the North Santa Cruz Wash. The final piece, he said, belongs to the University of Arizona.
Councilmember Nancy Smith said the agreement will help pull some land out of the flood zone.
“If we can solve floodplain problems locally, in pieces as well, coordinating with the types of alliances we have, we’re going to be in better shape because that involves quicker resolution in different areas of Maricopa,” she said.
Mayor Christian Price said the agreement is the best solution for everybody.
“We’re working many different channels and many different avenues to indeed protect the local control while simultaneously look[ing] out for the very best interests of the residents while simultaneously protecting those homeowners in those areas and fixing the problems that we are simply behind in, in Pinal County, and have been for a very long time,” he said.
Also at Tuesday’s regular meeting, some Employee Excellence awards were presented, Joanne Ortega was honored, and MPD Chief Steve Stahl and MFD Chief Brady Leffler received cards of appreciation for the first responders signed by city council, staff and residents. See video below.