City begins negotiations for new solar lease

On Tuesday, City Council approved moving forward with Sempra Renewables’ requested to lease additional land for a new solar project in the Eldorado Valley.

Currently, Sempra has three solar projects in the valley, Copper Mountain Solar 1, 2 and 4. This fourth one would be Copper Mountain Solar 5, and its proposed location is south of Sempra’s current ones. Its size is approximately 1,116 acres.

The land Sempra wishes to lease is currently under the Boulder City Conservation Easement, which prohibits the construction of solar facilities. According to the city, Sempra will negotiate with Clark County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It hopes they can work out an exchange for new land being added to the coverage of the conservation easement to replace the land released for Copper Mountain Solar 5.

“This is really the critical first step,” said Sempra’s Regional Director of External Affairs Lisa Briggs of the resolution at the City Council meeting.

It will allow Sempra and the city to move forward in negotiations for the lease.

City Attorney Dave Olsen said the lease for this new project is similar to the others Sempra has with the city, and it is most like the lease for Copper Mountain Solar 4.

Briggs said they have an aggressive timeline and hope to finish negotiating with Clark County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the next month and a half. When those negotiations are completed, the final lease agreement will be brought back before the City Council for approval.

The council unanimously approved the resolution to start negotiating the lease agreement.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, council approved the final budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which included a general fund of $30,574,220, a general fund capital improvement plan of $2,475,000, utility fund of $33,223,383, and a utility fund capital improvement plan of $9,472,500.

Nevada law requires Boulder City to approve and file its final budget with the Nevada Department of Taxation by May 31.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council:

■ Approved a code ordinance that would prohibit all marijuana establishments in the city but leave the topic open for further research. Council approved it with a vote of 4-1. Councilman Rich Shuman voted against it because he believed research should be done on allowing marijuana establishments before any action was taken. In April, the Planning Commission denied the recommendation to prohibit all marijuana establishments in order to allow for more discussion and a comprehensive study.

■ Approved moving the June 13 City Council meeting to 7 p.m. June 6 to accommodate the general election.

■ Approved a resolution for the continued participation with Clark County in the Urban County Consortium for Community Development Block Grant. These funds go to different organizations in the city including Emergency Aid of Boulder City and Lend A Hand of Boulder City.

■ Approved a resolution to allow the city to collect the new stadium district tax along with along with already established transient lodging taxes, while separately accounting for and remitting such new proceeds directly to the county.

■ Approved collective bargaining agreements between the city and employees with the Blue Collar Bargaining Unit, the Clerical Bargaining Unit, the Supervisory Bargaining Unit, the Electrical Bargaining Unit and the Fire Captain Bargaining Unit. All agreements are for five years and include a 3 percent raise each year and increased yearly health care contributions.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.