The Sahuarita Town Council recently heard from 17 opponents of a hot-mix asphalt plant proposed near Quail Creek. The speakers once again called on the council to reject the project, citing concerns regarding public safety, health, convenience, comfort, prosperity, and general welfare.
The arguments presented during the public call were largely based on a letter dated August 3, sent to the council by Michael and Cecilia Sandez of Quail Creek. The extensive eight-page letter referenced town policies, standards, and negative public sentiment, asserting that these factors should guide the council’s decision to prioritize the well-being of the community.
In the letter, emphasis was placed on the Town Code and General Plan as official documents guiding the town’s development in line with current and anticipated needs. The letter stressed the importance of population growth and residential development within Sahuarita, implying that the proposed asphalt plant could hinder these objectives.
Key concerns raised by the letter echoed those expressed since the announcement of Vulcan Materials’ intentions to seek a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the plant in February. These concerns encompassed air quality, increased truck traffic, emissions, and potential harm to property values.
Vulcan’s request for a Type 3 CUP pertains to land located north of Quail Creek, previously the site of a sand and gravel mining operation. The plant’s history traces back to its annexation into the town in 2000, with Vulcan’s ownership dating back to 2015.
During the meeting, individuals opposing the project shared stories that highlighted the negative impact they perceived it would have on their lives. Julie Marti McLain, a prominent Realtor in the area, conveyed her personal experience of losing home transactions due to the plant, while other residents expressed concerns about property values and their willingness to invest in the area.
Many speakers identified themselves as members of Concerned Citizens of Sahuarita, a grassroots group predominantly consisting of Quail Creek residents who have taken various actions to oppose the project. Another significant voice against the proposal emerged from FICO, the owner of the pecan orchards. In a letter dated June 30, FICO’s CEO Richard “Dick” Walden expressed concerns about emissions’ impact on food safety and potential damage to neighboring communities.
While the council couldn’t respond during the meeting, Vice Mayor Kara Egbert clarified that no action had been taken because the item had not yet come before them. The proposal must first undergo review by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The next step in the process involves a public hearing by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which is tentatively scheduled for September 19. The original August meeting was postponed, and Mayor Tom Murphy indicated that further delays might occur to ensure all questions are answered before moving forward.
Ultimately, the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation regarding Vulcan’s CUP will be presented to the town council for a final decision. In the midst of this ongoing debate, the council also approved an agreement to lease space to Global Water Resources at the Sahuarita Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Center (SAMTEC).