Approval sought for solar plant permit
The Yuma County Board of Supervisors could approve a permit Monday for the 400-acre solar plant planned for the Foothills area.
County staff have recommended the board approve a special use permit for the Foothills Solar Plant that Arizona Public Service plans to start building in August. The 35-megawatt plant is expected to be built on leased state trust land off 40th Street between Foothills Boulevard and Fortuna Road and generate enough electricity for about 8,750 homes.
The planned site is in creosote-dotted desert about half a mile away from the nearest house. The ground-mounted panels will be about 6 feet 4 inches tall and there will be no on-site staffing except for occasional maintenance. APS will lease the land from the Arizona State Land Department for 35 years at a cost of $10 million.
Supporting documents for the solar plant agenda item show that the city of Yuma supports the project and that it wouldn't affect operations at the Marine Corps Air Station or the Barry M. Goldwater Range. Comments from neighbors showed mixed reactions.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department detailed some concerns because the site is habitat for the flat-tailed horned lizard, and the development could change the status of the species from “wildlife of special concern” to federally threatened species. However, Game and Fish did not recommend against the solar plant.
A development evaluation checklist gave the project a moderate score, taking points away because “1) The proposed density is not in complete alignment with existing densities in the area, 2) The proposed use is not exactly the same as with established land development patterns or planned land development patterns and uses” and the concerns over the flat-tailed lizard.
Still, zoning staff recommends approval of the permit because the use is compatible with established land development patterns in the vicinity, the site is relatively close to emergency services and the development supports Goldwater Range activities.
In other action:
• The supervisors will be asked to give the go-ahead for the Yuma County Sheriff's Office to accept about $160,000 from the Arizona Department of Homeland Security to fund Operation Stonegarden, a multi-agency project focused on border security.
• The board could adopt a resolution in support of the designation of overweight/excess truck routes within Yuma County by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
• The supervisors could direct staff to adjust justice of the peace boundaries because of excessive “judicial productivity credits” in Precinct 1.
• A more-than 150 acre parcel of land adjacent to the landfill at County 19th Street and Avenue 1E could be rezoned to become an extension to the landfill.
The board of supervisors meets at 8:30 a.m. in the auditorium at 198 S. Main St. Visit www.yumacountyaz.gov/index.aspx?page=596 to see the entire agenda.
Hillary Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.