July 4, 2020
Happy July 4th! Everyone please be safe!
We have TV Channel 15 interested in doing a story so I have been organizing and providing
information for the reporter. We also have the Mesa Republic newpaper doing an updated story
for us and now the New Times also has interest.
We do now have a Facebook Page so there is another medium to obtain information.
We have created a GOFUNDME page, see link at top of page, for donations of ANY amount for
purposes of legal action. We had a great start with donations and how we seem stuck.
Please consider even some small donation as it will be helpful. If you are not comfortable
making donations on-line and prefer to provide $ to one of our volunteers, we can collect
that and make sure it is put into the fund. Please help!
We are considering selling Save Twin Knolls t-shirts or tanks which will allow us to perhaps
make a tiny profit to put into the fund.
We did have a meeting with John Fillmore on June 20 and again, he was very supportive to
our efforts and working hard in the background to make this go away.
Thanks to those who attended, social distanced and wore masks!
Jacqueline Parker, who is running for office alongside Fillmore provided some information on
filing an injunction. See below for more on that. (And don't forget if you want a Fillmore
political yard sign just let us know.... he has been so helpful!)
We also had a Zoom meeting which didn't go all that well technically but it was a good modality
to gather and share ideas. I have since taking a Zoom training to so next meeting will be better!
We also will likely need a few dollars to pay for an enhanced ability for Zoom meetings.
The free 40 minute meeting was just not enough time.
We are making strides in creating a Aggregate Mining Operation Zoning District as authorized
under ARS 11-812C. This will create a committee of public and miners to come together to talk
about concerns about the mining. The committee cannot stop the mining but at least we will have
input, IF the mining actually begins. Many thanks to County Supervisor Steve Chucri and his team
in helping to make that happen. And many thanks to the several folks who have volunteered to be
on that committee.
We have had some discussion around filing an injunction/temporary restraining order but need
to find that attorney that will work pro-bono or at least at a reduced rate.
If anyone out there is an attorney wanting to help the community, please raise your hand.
We are considering filing without representation and are in the process of drafting those
documents but help is still needed to wade through and understand rules around air quality.
Thanks to Joe for his help in finding some supporting documentation on how to fight a mining company.
We really want to save the Knolls so please, if there is anyway you think you can help, reach out
to us through our email system or on Facebook.
Be well and safe!
June 20 Meeting Summary
Thanks to all who came to the meeting
last night and everyone did wear a
face covering so extra thanks for
keeping our neighbors safe!
We had a nice showing and not sure
how many were on the call-in number
but that only worked well
when Rep. Fillmore was by the podium.
He obviously is a people person and
likes wandering among the people when
chatting so if you were on the line and
missed much, that is why.
Representative John Fillmore
Cathy opened the meeting and thanked everyone who has helped out and just gave a brief summary
of where the project is, i.e. Custom Landscape Materials has put in for an air quality permit,
the last piece of legal documentation to obtain before they can start destruction of our Knolls.
It is unknown exactly how much time the process will take. Anywhere from 3-6 months has been
tossed out as a time frame. Rep. Fillmore then spoke and a few points came to light:
1. Rep. Fillmore shared he has tried to reach out to Oertle to no avail. Supervisor Chucri believes
there may be a way we can get Oertle to respond. A call is scheduled with Fillmore, Churci
and his staff and Cathy on Tuesday.
2. Rep. Fillmore has recommended we continue to write and call, specifically City of Mesa, Maricopa
Board of Supervisors, all our District and State Legislators AND he also suggested the Governor.
He suggested writing YOUR story and how this situation would negatively impact YOU.
All the contact information is on our website.
Rep. Fillmore also recommended contacting TV stations and other media. Much of this has already
been done by much with little response. Only AZ Republic has written about our plight and no
TV station has expressed any interest at all. Granted we are in competition with Covid-19 and
Black Lives Matter, both important, but we can’t give up trying to spread the word on this.
Also talk to you neighbors, get them involved!
3. Fillmore is running for re-election and if re-elected he already has plans to put forth
legislation to amend/change ARS 11-812, which is the culprit law that allows for this to be
happening in the first place. Vote wisely!
He is also going to look into the history of this law being voted in to see what was going on
at the time and who was involved. As an FYI, Kelly Townsend, who is currently in the House,
is running unopposed for State Senate and to pass any amending laws, we would need her vote
as well. David Farnsworth is running for something other than a seat in legislation but we can
always ask for his support to help battle this issue since he actually lives very near the
neighborhood. Fillmore political yard signs are available by email through the website email link
4. Jacqueline Parker, who is running for an AZ House seat, was also present.
She suggested filing a Preliminary Injunction and there was discussion post- meeting on how
to do that. She will provide information to Cathy and in the meantime Cathy has written to an
attorney in the area to ask what it would cost to file such an Injunction.
Here is a link about Preliminary Injunctions and how they work.
It is evident that we need a more concerted effort to get things done.
Even though much has already been accomplished, we need a more focused effort!
With that said, it is imperative that a Committee be formed to come up with ideas and how to implement
or move forward on them. I know we have many talents in our neighborhood and I (Cathy and many others)
truly believe we can win this battle against Oertle and Custom Landscape. We just need a more
focused effort. Cathy will plan a meeting in the near future for those who want to step up to
save our neighborhood!!!!!!
May 27, 2020
Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day!
Our protest on Sunday was a bust, so hopefully everyone was having a good time with family.
We will protest again soon but earlier in the day due to heat.
Had a conversation with AZ Ombudsman last week. They are very supportive of what we are doing
but of course have no authority to make this mining plan go away.
Again...I ask for everyone to write to both the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ)
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and provide reasons why they should not approve
any permit from Custom Landscape Materials.
Similarly contact Maricopa County Air Quality Department.
There are several studies noted in the March 9 update on the website that show how devestating
aggregate mining can be and especially around air quality.
Feel free to quote these and/or do your own research as well.
I say to write both entities because Custom Landscape can file for a permit with either one,
and we don't know which one so we need to alert both of our displeasure.
Obtaining an air quality permit seems to be the last big legal piece that Custom Landscape needs
in order to start work. WE MUST STOP THIS!
One of our advocates spoke to Andy Biggs at a Memorial Day event. He was very concerned about this
horrible mining plan. Biggs provided a contact and he has been written to.
Although he, McSally and Sinema are Federal representatives for AZ, it is possible they may have
some clout in this County matter. This is especially true, as along with young, senior, healthy,
health challenged, retired, Latino, white, and black many of our neighbors are veterans and
this mining can be especially challenging to those who have served.
All of our Federal representatives are supportive of our vets so this may be an opportunity to include
this category and being specifically vulnerable especially due to the noise factor of mining.
So please write to Biggs, McSally and Sinema to get support in terminating this mining project.
Martha McSally Kyrsten Sinema Andy Biggs
It also could be a great time to contact the tv stations again.
Now that there are stories other than Covid 19 on TV, they may have time for our story.
Contact information is on our website and don't forget we are now SaveTwinKnolls.com.
Also as an FYI, Patagonia AZ has a somewhat similar problem with ARS 11-812 and
the AZ Ombudsman is looking into that for us.
Please take a few minutes to take action to stop a lifetime of horror.
May 14, 2020
Found that the Flora and Fauna study that Custom Landscape said was done does not exist
at any government entity. Sam Schippers claimed the Mining Inspector's Office had it which they did not.
Neither did other government entities we checked with. So either he really had no idea where it was
and was guessing (bad plan) or he lied (even a worse plan).
Cathy had written an op-ed that was printed in last Wednesday's Mesa Republic newspaper.
If you missed it and want a copy sent to you, please request via our email link that is on the website.
An update pleading for more action from the neighborhood was recently posted on Next Door.
There has not been much response to that. Has everyone become disinterested in this plight?
I hope not! The plan to destroy the Knolls is still in place.
We had approached the Institute for Justice a couple months ago and had hoped to hear back from them
but have not. They are located at 398 S. Mill Ave, #301, Tempe AZ 85281. Perhaps if more individuals
write to them of our plight, they will respond. If interested we can send you copies of what has
already been sent so you can model your letter after them. Again, just request via the website email.
We are still getting support from some of your leaders but there has been no movement away from
the plan by Custom Landscape to destroy the Knolls.
I plan to hold another phonecall (very poor attendance at last call so nothing to report) but this time
in the evening. If there is poor attendance again, that will be the last attempt.
Hopefully we can come together with ideas on how to proceed. Stay tuned for date, time and call in number.
Since Arizona is now loosening the stay-at-home order, perhaps there is some interest in doing another
protest at the Knolls, but with face covering and social distancing.
Please email if you have interest and we will set a date.
Good news still remains that the air quality permit has not been requested, nor several other permits
that are required. That only means they cannot start the project just yet.
If you have any ideas how to help or want to help but don't know what to do, just email.
April 26, 2020
A lot has been going on in the background and hopes were high that something positive would come to light
to stop the destruction of the Twin Knolls. I have some good news and a lot of bad news. Bad news first.
Flora and Fauna Study -
The study was asked for at the March 11th meeting and Sam Schippers (representing Custom Landscape)
advised he had to ask the owner if we could have it. I emailed Schippers twice and at first he said he
would send it and then changed his mind and told me to do a Freedom of Information Act Request
which I have done to the Mining Inspector's Office with no response to date.
I am not sure it even exists, which would make Schippers a liar.
Supervisor Chucri's office provided me with the following as they too were following up on this:
"We have submitted a public records request for the documents from the Arizona Mining Inspector...
but a guess is that they did not perform a survey. Based on some research, these surveys are not required
on private property. Sometimes the surveys are required on private property if you are supplying material
for federal projects (like highway construction), but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture oversees the protection of native plants.
Here is the LINK for more information.
In a nutshell, private landowners have a right to destroy or remove native plants after notifying
the Department of Agriculture.
OMG they can just destroy the protected saguaro's!!!
I could use some help here. If someone would please do a Freedom of Information Act request to see if
Custom Landscape or Twin Knolls Two LLC has notified the Department of Agriculture of any intent
to destroy, that would be helpful. Here is a LINK on how to do that.
If you have questions, just email the Save Twin Knolls email site and someone will get back with you.
There is also a question that needs to be answered by the agriculture department.
This may be splitting hairs but at this point, we need to - It is not the owner who will be destroying the
native and protected plants but rather the Landscape Company in a commercial venture.
Someone post that question to them please?
I had questioned whether mining would be held to restrictions under Noise Ordinance P-23 due to my
interpretation that this mining endeavor is not a normal and customary business in a residential area.
My personal opinion is this response is wrong and anyone who wants to write to the County Attorney with
some valid legal points on why they are not normal and customary, please do and send a copy of the your
letter to the Twin Knolls email. They certainly don’t care whether it is an annoyance to us so we need
to find some valid legal point somewhere.
Here is the response Chucri’s Office received.
“Per the County Attorney, the Maricopa County Noise Ordinance P-23 applies to a properly operating
mining operation that follows normal and customary business. However, the only enforceable portion
of the Ordinance against a business on private property would be Article V, Public Disturbances.
The standard is the noise cannot disturb the peace and cannot be heard inside a residential structure
located within 500 feet of the boundary of the property from which the noise is emanating.
While this general provision may cause a mining operation to be in violation, Article V also provides:
“This subsection shall not apply to noise produced in the normal conduct of business provided that such
noise occurs within the normal and customary hours for the conduct of such business, which is based on
the normal and customary hours of operation of similar, existing businesses.”
Therefore, so long as the mining operation maintains operations only during those hours that are normal
and customary, the operation falls outside the prohibition in the Maricopa County Noise Ordinance”.
Reclamation Plan -
The March 11 meeting at the Mining Inspector’s Office was to give an opportunity to provide reasons why
the reclamation plan should not be approved. Since there was not input around that topic, but rather
complaints were focused on the mining, I have been trying to stop the approval by pointing out how
seriously flawed the notification process was. Yesterday, I received a letter from the Arizona
Assistant Attorney General, Paul Kent, who chaired the meeting and denied the motion to table all
actions, and he said there were no reasons given not to approve the reclamation plan and that the
notification process was in compliance with the law.
Additionally, Supervisor Churci’s office stated that they too have tried to stop movement forward and
they have been told basically…too late…it is already approved. They have requested a copy of the plan.
The Only Good News –
There has been no air quality permit issued yet so they cannot start work until that is secured.
Honestly, seems we need an attorney as us little folks are going to apparently be run over if we don’t
come up with another plan to make this go away. Suggestions????
Please submit your ideas or offer of help to the Save Twin Knolls email:
All brainstorming ideas are welcome.
I have a few.
Write or call the folks who own the neighboring property and ask them to help.
Maybe they would like to make their area into a preserve and can talk to Oertle to talk him into that.
Write to Custom Landscape to let them know we have concerns about health, noise and harm to home
foundations and we have every intention of making them responsible for any injuries.
Somebody must know an attorney to help maybe file an injunction of some sort.
Maybe set up a GoFundMe Page to get a few dollars so we can at least talk to someone.
Continue reaching out to the media with focus they are picking on a less than wealthy neighborhood.
Doubt this would be happening on a county island in Scottsdale.
April 13, 2020
Cathy had a call today with Steve Chucri and here is her update.
I had a call today with Steve Chucri, County Supervisor(Supv) District#2, his Chief of Staff, Page Gonzales
and his Director of Planning and Development, Jen Pokorski.
He promises a small meeting with some neighborhood folks in the near future but having a conference call
with multiple people on the line can be unwieldly. It was a bit of challenge with just 4 of us today.
I was pleasantly surprised at the efforts they have been taking to figure out how to stop this insane idea
of mining the Knolls to nothingness. His team is very much in agreement with us that aggregate mining in an
established neighborhood to our entire detriment is wrong.
One good thing was that there has been no request for an air quality permit as yet.
This is interesting, as the impression I got from an email from the landscape company was that a permit
had been secured. It depends on the company's plan who they go to for their permit, either Maricopa County
Air Quality or ADEQ. There is a trick companies use around that too. If they use portable mining equipment
and mine for less than a year they don't need a permit form ADEQ. To ensure that they do not go over a year,
the work around is they work for a few months and then move on to another site and then another and then
come back to the original. It must be that ADEQ is more strict? Just guessing.
I have issued a Freedom of Information Act request to both government agencies to provide me with any and
all permits issued or permits requested by the landscape company.
We discussed the noise Ordinance P-23. Supv Churci had gone to the County Attorney to determine if mining
falls into the exemptions that are listed, i.e. there are no restrictions.
The "ruling" is that they are exempt under this clause: "This subsection shall not apply to noise produced
in the normal conduct of business provided that such noise occurs within the normal and customary hours
for the conduct of such business, which is based on the normal and customary hours of operation of similar,
existing businesses, and the operation is legally conducted within the scope of all ordinances, laws,
and statutes of Maricopa County and the State of Arizona."
I pointed out that in our minds this was not a normal course of business, that they are not established
there and will be moving on at some point..maybe even as soon as six months and then may be back
six months later. Supv Churci agreed there was some grey area of interpretation so he is going back
to the Attorney to question the first "ruling".
Supv Chucri has reached out to Oertle and to the landscape company and both have been none responsive.
In fact, a conference call was scheduled with the landscape company and they were a no show.
We discussed the elusive Flora and Fauna study and his office will try to secure that from whomever may
have it, if indeed it actually exists. I have been told the Mining Inspector's Office does not have it
even though the landscape company said they did. I have issued a Freedom of Information Act request to
the Mining Inspectors Office for the study. The landscape company has basically refused to give it to me.
Supv Churci stated that sometimes Game and Fish monitors these things, so it may be there.
His staff will follow up on that.
We discussed the faulty reclamation plan notification process for the March 11 meeting and that I am
still trying to figure out who chaired the March 11th so I can bring to their attention once again
the notification was faulty.
Update: I did find out who chaired the meeting. It was Paul Katz, Arizona Assistant Attorney.
The reclamation plan has not yet been approved so am I am trying to stop that approval.
This may be a an opportunity for others to contact Mr. Katz and express their displeasure that my
motion at the March 11 meeting to table all action was denied.
Supv Chucri mentioned he spoke with Steve Trussell, President of the Arizona Mining Association.
Not to put any words into Mr. Trussell's mouth but sense is he is not a big fan of this project but
absolutely wants no change to ARS 11-812. I have put a couple of calls into Mr. Trussell's office but
we have not connected. Supv Chucri asked if we had an attorney and we do not but advised we have
reached out to a few places that provide free service.
We discussed the opportunity of creating a District Mining Committee similar to what was established
under ARS 11-812 for County Supervisor District #1 where members of the community along with members
of the mining community come together to establish guidelines around mining concerns in the area.
His staff was going to follow up on that.
There was a question as to weather the landscape company can put up fences as if they are starting
work even though they don't have all permits in place. The answer is yes....although I am not sure why
they would expend the money to do that when they know we are breathing down their necks and they
do not have all their permits.
So that is it in a nutshell.
Also please know I am in contact with legislators on this and they are working to figure out how to stop
this as well. And I have submitted a story to the AZ Republic and I believe it is going to be published.
Will keep you posted on that.
March 29, 2020
Thanks to all who came to our protest today.
We had about 30 folks, which was awesome and we all respected the social distancing as required.
Helen Hunter, who is running for LD16 House of Representative position, also showed up to help us protest.
Thank you Helen!!!
We had a photographer there who took dozens of pics so look for those in the near future.
Also trying to get a video and story sent off to the tv and newpapers. We had lots of cars slow down on
Apache Trail to read our signs and lots of horns honking.
Be sure to take action otherwise as noted below.
March 28, 2020 - ALERT!!! ALERT!!!!
I have been in telephone contact with all of our District 16 representatives and they are
supportive of what we are doing and will help as they can but this is a very difficult situation,
thus WE MUST do our part by continuing to write, call, and/or email as suggested below and
elsewhere on this site. If you have written or called, do so again.
Check with neighbors and if they have not, help them to take action. Reach out to family members.
They do not have to live in the area to take action.
Inaction will result in destruction, and we CANNOT let that happen. We MUST win!!!!
1. Write, email or call the EPA
Be sure to provide names, addresses and permits involved so the EPA is informed. All info is on this site.
Federal Law has power over State Law and our state agencies have not been responsive to our concerns.
Here is an articles discussing the Air Quality Index (AQI) and here is a link to the EPA site which has
multiple other links discussing air quality.
With the elevation of the Knolls being what it is, there is NO way the landscape company can contain
particulates resulting in increased danger to our health. Additionally with numerous homes being
very close to the knolls, some within a 100 feet and many within 500 feet, the idea that
particulates (dust, emissions, etc.) in the air can be contained is impossible.
2. Contact the Executive Director of the Arizona Mining Association, Steve Trussell
at 602-989-3854 or Steve@azmining.org.
I am purely guessing but these are probably the people who lobbied to get ARS11-812 on the books
allowing for mining ANYWHERE in the county. I am pretty sure this association is not aware that this
planned mining is as close as 100 ft. from some homes and businesses and 500 ft. from MANY businesses.
On their website they state, "We support educational programs that demonstrate the importance and
benefits of mining to the economy and the quality of life."
This planned mining is hardly beneficial to the quality of life for thousands in the area.
Here is an opportunity for them to work with the community to show they have compassion for people.
Additionally, there is harm to the natural viewscape, landscape and wildlife.
3. Write to the Maricopa County Air Quality Department.
Click on this link for their website and an easy option to file an air quality violation.
Although work has not begun, we can use this opportunity to alert the county to our concerns.
Perhaps even just a brief statement such as “I am seriously concerned that if permits are issued and
destruction of the Twin Knolls located at 8436 E. Apache Trail under LU20190040 by Custom Landscape
Materials LLC begins, Covid 19 will be dispersed into the air as well as Valley Fever and multiple P10 and
more dangerous P2.5 particulates. This cannot be allowed to happen.
If permits have been issued, they must be rescinded.”
You are welcome to use that message or create your own….but please, write.
You can also write this concern to your legislators.
4. Contact TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers, etc. and let them know of the situation.
If you have trouble knowing what to write, reach out to us through the email link, and we can send you
samples of what has been written. Or consider calling those above, rather than writing.
March 16, 2020
We received the December 2019 Reclamation Plan Final.
You can view or download the PDF HERE.
This is the Final Reclamation Plan so Custom Landscape Materials and the Mining Office knew
in December 2019 that scheduling for mining would start in Spring 2020.
At the March 11, 2020 Mining Office meeting, when we asked when mining would start
they said they did not know.
March 14, 2020
Thank you, Alison Steinbach, for covering the Twin Knolls
planned destruction. An article, on March 14 in the Arizona Republic, helped to shine
a light on this East Valley scandal.
Sam Schippers, vice president of Custom Landscape Materials, the group
hired to do the aggregate mining, said many things.
We would like to reply to some of those things.
Schippers said nearby construction projects already produce more dust
than the mining project will. “There will not be any visible dust,” he
said, adding that the project plans to “far exceed” air quality
Our reply: Comparing any other ground level dust production with a project
that will be taking place at a significant elevation above ground seems strange.
This dust will be starting out over 100 feet above average surrounding ground level.
Schippers said it is no different than a construction project, it just involves
more grading. It qualifies as “mining” because rock material will be sold rather than
just thrown away, he said. “As soon as you sell the material off the property, that’s
considered mining,” Schippers said.
Our reply: It is difficult to believe the gentleman actually said this.
However, you did say this is no different than a construction project,
it just involves more grading.
This "mining" would qualify as an extremely major construction project, with
no benefits to the community.
When Intel built their huge FAB12 microchip factory in Chandler, they excavated deep
for the substructure, but I don't think even they went down over 100 feet.
Mr. Schippers, you are not building an Intel factory. What you ARE doing is
digging through over 100 feet of mostly rock to remove a beautiful natural landmark.
Schippers said the project is misunderstood.
"I think as soon as you put the word mining on something, they start going crazy,"
he said. "But there are projects up and down Apache everywhere, and that’s all this is."
Our reply: As far as I am aware, there are no projects ongoing, up or down Apache,
that are expected to continue for 8 to 12 years. And there are no other projects that plan
to remove a huge, natural landmark.
And the word mining is "put" on this project because that's exactly what it is.
You said so yourself - it qualifies as "mining" because rock material will be sold rather
than just thrown away. Your representative at the March 11 Mining Office meeting
attempted to convince us that selling the material instead of "throwing it away"
was an altruistic act by the property owner for the benefit of the neighborhood.
The property owner is actually destroying a 115 ft natural landmark and getting paid for it.
These hills add character and personality to an otherwise ordinary neighborhood.
Flattening these desert hills is NOT for the benefit of the neighborhood.
Mr. Schippers, when you say "they start going crazy" I'm assuming you refer to people
like us, people like me. We won't even dignify that with a reply.
March 13, 2020
There was a meeting last night of the District 16 Democratic Club.
Deedra Abboud was one of the speakers and her focus was the Twin Knolls.
(She is running for County Supervisor in our County District #2 where Steve Chucri sits)
She reviewed a bit of what has happened to date and focused on what transpired at
the Public Meeting on March 11. She is certainly not happy with the situation and her
overall suggestions was to call and hound EVERYBODY.
Since we are fighting law ARS 11-812 we really need to be inundating ALL of our lawmakers,
not just those in District 16, John Fillmore, Kelly Townsend and David Farnsworth.
District 25 is right down the street from us so we need to hound them as well, Michelle Udall,
Rusty Bowers and Tyler Pace. Their contact information is here on our Contacts page.
There is a list of legislators at azleg.gov so write them ALL if you have the time.
Many of these are the same folks that voted for this horrific law in 2010. She also mentioned that
the County Supervisor's Office, which she is running for, is responsible for noise nuisance issues.
Hmmmmm....sounds like Steve Chucri, County Supervisor and all Supervisors needs to be
contacted on this as well. Ordinance P-23 is the law on this.
March 11, 2020
Here is the link for the March 11 meeting audio. You may have to download in order to play it.
Cathy met with Az Legislator, John Fillmore prior to the meeting.
He is very supportive of our efforts and is on board to make this plan go away.
We attempted to table the meeting due to failure of proper notification of homeowners
as required by law. The Attorney General, who headed the meeting, refused to table the discusison.
Much anger was expressed at the meeting and we, as promised, were told the meeting was
to discuss the plan ONLY. At one point, the meeting became so vibrant that security was called
in to stand guard.
The owner of the Landscape Company who is to do the mining, provided a pitiful
explanation of what the plan was. We had an opportunity to ask questions in writing and again,
most responses were not favorable and many were not answered as they did not fall under the area
of the Mining Inspectors responsibility.
We left with no better understanding about the plan than before the meeting.
There were two reporters there. I know one was from the East Valley Tribune.
That story will run not this Sunday but next.
Was unable to confirm where the other reporter was from.
She was not from AZ Repubic as I checked with my reporter there.
AZ Republic story is on her editor's desk.
We have an official request in for the plans since we still have not seen them.
They will be forwarded to us digitally so we can share them.
We will also receive a listing of who the notification letters were sent to since
very few people received them. We have offically requested any and all records surrounding this issue.
The landscape company stated they had done a study of the flora and fauna on the Knolls and
they said they found nothing. I will attempt to secure.
March 9, 2020
The neighborhood of the Twin Knolls seems destined to be the unwilling
recipients of a decade+ of horror as the result of planned aggregate mining and subsequent
home building basically in our backyards. Thousands are being impacted.
We are in desperate need of bringing to the attention of someone/anyone who can help stop the
destruction of the historical landscape called the Twin Knolls located at 8436 East Apache Trail,
Mesa, Maricopa County. Not only is this a historic land site, but it provides viewscape to
thousands of residents who live to the north and south of the Knolls. Residents have only
become aware of the project within the last few weeks, and we are horrified and confused how
this could even happen.
The planned destruction will be by way of mining of aggregate over 25 acres of land in the midst
of this quiet-established residential area. This threatens not only the destruction of protected
native flora and fauna, but also the physical health of the resident human population. Many have
lived in the area for decades. I have personally walked and talked to dozens of neighbors finding
that some only recently moved to the area, just to be by this historic landscape, not being aware
of the proposed destruction. Some live as close as 100 feet to the Knolls. Others are concerned
about the danger to the many children and pets that live in the area. Many have health issues that
would be exacerbated by dust and other particulates. The project is scheduled for up to 12
years, resulting in decreased property values, and inconvenience to local business owners with an
overall result of severe financial loss.
How in the world could this project be approved and why are we only NOW just learning
This is the information that we have to date:
Pending Application for Aggregate Mining Permit LU20190040
The property in question is 8436 East Apache Trail, Mesa, Maricopa County. The area is
approximately 25 acres. The parcels # 218-39-005 and 218-26-013 are owned by Twin Knolls
Land Two LLC/Etal and are noted as Vacant Residential Land. The owner of Twin Knolls LLC
is John Oertle 480-753-3888, email@example.com. On April 19, 2019, so almost a year ago,
Mr. Oertle submitted a Mining Exemption Application to the Maricopa County Planning and
Development Department. The application states the exemption is to allow for aggregate
mining on the subject property. The owner’s agent, the business that will do the mining, is
Custom Landscaping Materials, LLC 25376 W. Tonopah/Salome Highway, Buckeye AZ 623-
386-8777 Koos Schippers 5801 N 33rd Place, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253 firstname.lastname@example.org
or Sam Schippers 21139 West Sunrise, Buckeye, AZ 85396 email@example.com. The
application number is LU20190040. The status of the application was questioned by one of our
neighborhood advocate and on 2/20/2020 he was advised that the case was closed and the project
had met all statutory requirements.
On May 2, 2019, Ray Banker, 602-506-2364 firstname.lastname@example.org Planner in the Maricopa
County Planning and Development Department created a plan summary. Mr. Banker provided
an aerial view of the subject property clearly showing a heavily populated residential area
surrounding the property. There are also numerous businesses on the land contiguous to the
south of the Twin Knolls that I found had no idea regarding the plans. The subject property has
multiple zonings: R-3, C-2, C-3 and R1-8. The owners of the contiguous area to the east, Parcel
#218-26-011A, are Kay and John Bays. The mailing address on the internet is listed as 464 N.
105th Plaza, Mesa 85207. The address is listed as Bays Golf Inc. and the phone listed is 480-
095-1000. A call was made to the Bays by a neighborhood advocate on March 3, 2020, to
advise them of the plans. Whoever answered the phone thanked the caller for the information
and promptly hung up.
I, personally received a letter from the Arizona State Mine Inspector’s Office, 1700 West
Washington, Suite 403, Phoenix AZ 85007, 602-542-5971, dated February 5, 2020 that I
received mid-February advising of a meeting on March 11, 2020 beginning at 10:00a.m. at their
office address, 3rd Floor Conference Room. The letter advised of the intent to mine the property
for a term of 8-12 years with post-mining proposal to build single family homes. We have no
idea how many homes or what the reclamation plan is. At the meeting, the public is to be given
an opportunity to hear a brief presentation concerning the Superstition Crushing’s amendment to
their reclamation plan. This was the first we heard of ANY plan and have found no detail of any
such paperwork regarding any plan by Superstition Crushing, 3914 East Presidio Street, Mesa
AZ 85215, 480-833-8933. A phone call to the Mining Inspector's Office by a neighborhood
resident, Mr. Henry, revealed that this information was incorrect. Superstition Crushing is not
involved, only Custom Landscaping Materials, LLC and that this first presentation, not a
significant change in plan. This is important to note, as there are requirements under ARS 27-
1229 for notification on plans.
Upon receipt of the letter, and after the horror set in of what was to transpire, several advocates
for termination of the plan began canvassing the neighborhood of literally thousands to spread
the word and obtain signatures in protest of this project. Many homeowners contacted had no
idea what was going on and the majority I spoke with never received a letter. Of all those
contacted, none wants the Twin Knolls destroyed.
Advocates have conducted some research on laws, ordinances, etc. and I believe we have
found the legal issue, at least surrounding the public notification of plans. The Arizona
Ombudsman provided this cite. ARS 27-1229 states that the only time the public shall be
notified is when there is a “proposed reclamation plan for a new exploration operation or new
aggregate mining unit or substantial change to an approved reclamation plan.” The meeting
planned for March 11, 2020 is to hear about a change to the reclamation plan. No one in the
neighborhood was advised of a public meeting on the ORIGINAL plan. If it is correct that this is
not a significant change as noted in the letter but rather a first plan AND Superstition Crushing is
not the presenter of the plan, then the entire letter and notification process in faulty. Also, as
mentioned above numerous homeowners did NOT receive notification and thus there is failure to
follow the law under ARS 27-1119. We also now realize that ARS 11-812 basically says that
the public has absolutely no say so on where mining can take place even it is basically in the
back yard of hundreds of people. This law became effective in 2010 per the Arizona
Ombudsman. I have reached out to our legislators for clarification.
We continue the process of gathering signed petitions stating we want the whole project denied.
As of the date of this writing, we have over 2,000 signatures. We have contacted numerous
entities and individuals in hopes that we can halt the destruction of this historic area. We have
contacted environmental agencies, historical agencies, the government agencies responsible for
approving this horrible plan, and media outlets, just to name a few of the dozens we have
reached out to. With very little time between the receipt of the letter by some and the meeting,
we are doing all we can to spread awareness in the community of this devastating plan. We have
no idea what the plan date is to start destruction/mining.
We are not even sure how they will do aggregate mining when the majority the mountain shows
large exposed rock when aggregate is defined as “Sand, gravel and crushed stone.” Are we to
listen to 12 years of explosions and rock crushing? My research shows that most Arizona
aggregate mining is done in river beds, not the middle of a neighborhood.
The following is a summary of reasons the project should be terminated:
1. The mining will ruin the natural historic landmark in the area. Twin Knolls is a
landmark in Mesa AZ.
2. The mining will harm the natural vegetation, to include the protected saguaros.
3. The mining will harm the natural habitat.
4. The mining will result in increased water runoff, change in water runoff patterns and
5. The mining will result in more than a decade of dirt, dust, machines, noise, and traffic in
a residential area.
6. The mining will result in health issues such as increased respiratory and heart issues as
well as certain cancers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3885176/
7. The mining will result in loose materials being thrown from trucks or their wheels
resulting in vehicle damage.
8. The mining will result in natural ground water to be disturbed and especially in dry
climates it may lower the water table.
9. The mining will cause home values to plummet.
10. The mining will cause danger to the many children and pets in the area.
11. The mining will be a disturbance to hundreds of residences in the immediate area and
also surrounding areas.
12. The mining will result in disturbance to established roads and fences.
13. The mining will affect businesses in the area.
14. The mining will result in decreased home values for sale and for rent as the market to
purchase or rent in a noisy, dirty area is not enticing.
15. The mining reclamation does not appear to be very controlled as inspection will only be
done after the completion of mining even though reclamation is supposedly being done
during the mining.
16. The post-mining building will continue to result in dirt, dust, noise, machines and once
built will result in more traffic, emissions and water challenges resulting in continued
Further support for our concerns:
Environmental Impacts of Sand and Gravel Operations in New Mexico
The primary environmental impacts from aggregate, stone, and industrial mineral mines in New
Mexico are degraded air quality from stack emissions and disturbed areas on the mine and
groundwater usage. Other environmental impacts include increased traffic on new or improved
or existing roads; cumulative impacts as construction materials are hauled, stockpiled, and spread
on highway and building construction projects; and aesthetic degradation caused by both active
and abandoned aggregate, stone, and industrial mineral mines in major viewsheds.
Gravel Mining Impacts
Creating the pits or quarries requires the removal of virtually all natural vegetation, top soil and
subsoil to reach the aggregate underneath. Not only does this lead to a loss of existing animal
wildlife, it also leads to a huge loss of biodiversity as plants and aquatic habitats are destroyed.
Moreover, adjacent eco-systems are affected by noise, dust, pollution and contaminated water.
Environmental Impacts Of Mining Natural Aggregate
The most obvious environmental impact of aggregate mining is the conversion of land use, most
likely from undeveloped or agricultural land use, to a (temporary) hole in the ground. This major
impact is accompanied by loss of habitat, noise, dust, blasting effects, erosion, sedimentation,
and changes to the visual scene. Mining aggregate can lead to serious environmental impacts.
Societal pressures can exacerbate the environmental impacts of aggregate development. In areas
of high population density, resource availability, combined with conflicting land use, severely
limits areas where aggregate can be developed, which can force large numbers of aggregate
operations to be concentrated into small areas. Doing so can compound impacts, thus
transforming what might be an innocuous nuisance under other circumstances into severe
consequences. In other areas, the rush to build or update infrastructure may encourage relaxed
environmental or operational controls.
We are very concerned about the protected saguaro cacti present and the wildlife…perhaps also
protected… that may be there. There have been stated sightings of eagles, owls, and desert tortoises.
Where are the animals to go? There was also some talk among some “old timers” that there are hot
mineral springs and water flow underneath.
We are currently in the process of putting together our final thoughts to the Mining Inspector for
our meeting on March 11, 2020. Those who are aware of the proposed project plan to attend the
meeting. We have reached out to the Mining Inspector’s Office requesting postponement of the
meeting due to the seemingly faulty notification of the meeting. Without even knowing what the
original plan was or even what the revised plan is, we can have no meaningful feedback as the
Unfortunately, it seems according to law, anybody can pretty much do anything they want on
county property without regard for the many that live there. It is difficult to fathom that when
ARS 11-812 was put into law, that they meant that law should apply to heavily populated county
Obviously, the owner(s) of the Knolls and those who stand to make millions from this endeavor
have little to no concern for the thousands who live in the neighborhood.
Please help us to fight to keep our neighborhood and our health!!