With several suggestions, the Marana Planning Commission has advanced a development agreement between the Town of Marana and Marana Regional Landfill developer DKL Holdings to the town council.
A unanimous commission sent its recommendations ahead Wednesday, after lengthy conversation and some public comments. It is likely to go to the council Nov. 3, along with the zoning change request that would allow the commercial landfill to proceed toward permitting.
Within the development agreement, the commission wants addition of:
• a definition of the term 'commercially reasonable efforts;'
• delineation of hours of operation, with no trucking nor landfill operations before 7 a.m.;
• expansion of the areas where DKL Holdings would remove litter, to include the Silverbell West neighborhood northwest of and closest to the site;
• monitoring of five down-gradient wells, all within two miles of the property, for contaminants at the company's expense for a period of five years after water from all monitoring wells on the property is clear of any landfill-generated contaminants.
DKL Holdings wants to build the landfill on a 430-acre parcel within a 590-acre piece of ground one mile north of Avra Valley Road, one mile east of Trico Road and a half-mile south of Silverbell Road. The newly annexed property is owned by Vice Mayor Herb Kai.
At the start of Wednesday's public hearing, planning commission chairman Norman Fogel made clear the evening's topic.
"The issue of zoning has been already determined by the planning commission," Fogel told the crowd. Earlier this year, the commission recommended zoning be changed to allow the landfill. "We're not here to discuss the pros and cons of having a landfill, or not having a landfill. Limit your questions and comments to the development agreement."
That forced landfill opponents to amend their latest in a series of criticisms about the proposal. When Terri Faust, the evening's first speaker, began talking about absentee landowner Pak Chan and the effects of the landfill on his property, Fogel stopped her.
"What does this have to do with the development agreement?" Fogel asked.
"The development agreement is not the land use proposal," DKL representative Michael Racy agreed. "The development agreement is not a technical document, is not an engineering document, is not a compliance document." It's not required by state nor federal regulatory agencies.
"All the protections, all the main benefits to the community, all the developer promises are laid out in agreement form," Town Attorney Frank Cassidy said. Because the planning commission has already recommended adoption of the zoning change, "to recommend not entering in the development agreement, frankly, we believe, does not make a lot of sense," he said.
Among many provisions within the development agreement, DKL Holdings and the Town of Marana agree to designate a truck route along Avra Valley Road from I-10 to the site in west Marana; that the landfill would not build a rail spur to or on the property, and would not accept waste that has been "transported by rail;" that the landfill would not exceed 165 in height; would not accept hazardous materials; would be responsible for litter pick-up along the length of Avra Valley Road; would pay $1.20 per ton of deposited waste to the town as its host fee; would make improvements to Avra Valley Road and a bridge over the Brawley Wash.