[SCOOP] The bright side of the Corporation Commission action related to Johnson Utilities

Court Rich

Rose Law Group Reporter Staff

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Tuesday issued an order that paves the way for continued growth in north-central Pinal County. When EPCOR and commission staff first approached the ACC just a few short weeks ago, they were jointly proposing a blanket moratorium stopping all new sewer and water interconnections into the Johnson Utilities’ system.

What the Commission adopted yesterday, however, released the blanket moratorium and provides multiple exceptions to permit growth to continue unfettered while assuring the public of adequate utility service.

“We worked with EPCOR and commission staff, and the ACC ultimately decided that much of Johnson Utilities service territory is just fine for continued development or will be suitable if certain steps are taken,” said Court Rich, co-founder of Rose Law Group and representing numerous homebuilders and developers on this issue.

Through the collaborative efforts of EPCOR, the state Department of Environmental Quality and the ACC, large areas of Johnson’s territory were deemed appropriate for continued development immediately. For those areas that have been identified as having ongoing sewer or water capacity issues, the ACC’s order clearly sets out possibilities for landowners to adopt temporary solutions to serve their developments.

If all else fails, however, the commission allotted 28 permits per month for growth that cannot meet any exceptions.

Plans for solving the issues with the troubled Section 11 wastewater plant have also been discussed, and solutions seem much closer to reality than they did just a month ago.

“The Town of Queen Creek is exploring interconnection with the Johnson system that will relieve capacity issues on the water and sewer side, and alternatives exist to reroute sewer flows in troubled areas. While the limitation on permits will grab headlines, much of the territory was set free from restrictions, and quick and viable solutions to remaining problems have been identified,” Rich said.

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November 2018