Scottsdale City Council permits BASIS Schools campus

A view of what the BASIS school could look like at 128th Street and Shea Boulevard. (Submitted graphic)

A view of what the BASIS school could look like at 128th Street and Shea Boulevard. (Submitted graphic)

Scottsdale City Council voted in favor of a new proposed charter school plan by BASIS Schools Inc., Feb. 23, rendering a vote on the controversial plot of land on the southwest corner of 128th Street and Shea Boulevard.

BASIS Schools is seeking to build a new middle- and high-school facility on about eight acres of land where the city of Scottsdale controls several easements at the proposed location including a General Land Office patent, which was established by the Small Tract Act of 1938.

Concern comes from surrounding neighbors raising questions about the safety of the proposed site.

An agreement between BASIS Schools and neighbors has been made including several guidelines and requests, such as an additional entrance off of Shea Boulevard and the creation of a neighborhood relations committee. The council vote passed 6-1, with Councilman Guy Phillips dissenting.

“Councilwoman Milhaven made a motion to adopt Resolution No. 10346 authorizing Development Agreement No. 2016-017-COS with BASIS Schools, outlining traffic mitigation measures and school operations for a new charter school located at the southwest corner of east Shea and 128th Street,” stated city council documents.

Proposed plans call for a two-story structure to house about 1,200 students as charter school officials say the school has outgrown its already established location a few miles north of the proposed property, which is one of 14 Arizona BASIS sites.

Empowered by the Arizona Legislature, charter schools in Arizona are now considered the same in terms of zoning law as public schools and churches, state law stipulates. In this case, if Scottsdale City Council opted to not abandon those easements BASIS could still build on the site, but only on portions not protected by the adopted easements, city officials say.

Hundreds of letters in both support and opposition have been received by city council members with even Gov. Doug Ducey offering his support for the BASIS project in a Feb. 4 letter to Scottsdale City Council.

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