When negotiations between the City of Maricopa and the Ak-Chin Indian Community started nearly a year ago regarding growing their respective communities, there was a significant gap in what both sides wanted.
Over the past year, the parties bridged that gap, as evidenced Tuesday night, when the City and Ak-Chin signed an intergovernmental agreement that allows both sides to move forward with their own plans.
For the City, the plan was to annex land in unincorporated areas of Pinal County to allow for future growth and development. Ak-Chin wanted complete a fee-to-trust process that would allow the community to convert land it has purchased into reservation land.
The City originally requested to annex 3,260 acres, located south of Peters & Nall Road, north of Field Road, west of Anderson Road and east of an alignment named Ensenada Road. Ak-Chin was not in favor of the original proposal, which the City has since amended to just 251 acres.
The City’s initial concerns with Ak-Chin’s fee-to-trust application was that it would landlock Maricopa to the point where it would prevent the city from further growth.
Court Rich, an attorney from Rose Law Group who represented landowners in the original annexation area, explained the issue at a city council meeting last August.
“You may be forever locked getting to the south around the east side of your city,” he said of what would happen if the fee-to-trust process was completed before the City’s annexation.