Doctor R. Crants speaks during Wednesday night’s Adelanto City Council meeting about his plan to build another prison in the city to help ease inmate overcrowding in Los Angeles County. (Jose Huerta, Daily Press)
By Shea Johnson, Staff Writer
Posted: Jul. 23, 2015 at 4:59 PM
ADELANTO — The developers of a controversial jail plan that would ease Los Angeles County inmate overcrowding and be a financial boon to this city have been given until the end of the year to lock down an agreement with L.A. County or face the possibility the project will die.
The extension was granted by a 4-1 City Council vote Wednesday night after a June 30 deadline for LCS Holdings, led by Doc Crants and Buck Johns, came and went without a deal with L.A. County in place. Crants is a former for-profit prison executive and Johns is an Orange County-based developer.
As part of the plan’s conditions of approval OK’d by a freshly new-look Council in December, LCS Holdings had 180 days to purchase the property for the site, sitting on 125 acres of land on the northeast corner of Violet and Emerald roads.
But the purchase is contingent on L.A. County officials agreeing to house more than 3,200 of their overflow inmate population at the proposed facility. So far, no agreement has been reached. The plan promises to bring 1,250 jobs and a $1.2 million annual bed tax to Adelanto’s depressed general fund.
In December, Crants and Johns told the Council they had hoped to gain L.A. County’s backing and break ground by April.
Crants cited factors outside his control Wednesday in explaining the delay and need for an extension, but was met with staunch resistance from Mayor Pro Tem Jermaine Wright, who was also the lone dissenter in granting LCS more time.
“I misjudged the amount of time it would take,” Crants said, adding that he believed he could now get a deal done in 60 to 90 days.
According to Crants, Proposition 47 has hurt the developers’ pitch to L.A. County by decreasing some of the county’s inmate population. Passed in November, the retroactive proposition reduced many felonies to misdemeanors.
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