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At 8436 East Apache Trail, in the middle of a neighborhood, is a row of hills known as Twin Knolls.
The eastern hills are about to be completely destroyed by a gravel mine.

The mine has been approved.

It will begin operation in the next
few months and will take 8 to 12 years
to grind the hills down to nothing.
The property owner has refused to
talk to anyone about his plans.

Our neighborhood now

Our neighborhood after mining
The Arizona mining industry has lobbied for extremely pro-mining laws in our State Legislature.
The State Legislature has passed these laws without any safeguards to stop anyone from mining
in the middle of a neighborhood in the suburbs of Phoenix.


    1. What we want:
            A preserve or park protecting the existing eastern hills from developement.

            We have tried to offer the property owner the option to create a preserve in his name
            but we can't get him to talk to us.

    2. What we will accept:
            Houses built on the existing terrain.   Read More

    3. What we don't want:
            The destruction of existing terrain to build more houses by using mining as a cheap and
            unhealthy way to destroy a natural neighborhood landmark for profit.

   We have a GoFundMe page to raise funds for expenses and legal action to stop the mining of the Knolls.  Click here to donate.            

Questions, new info, or to be added to our updates list,
email us here
- Save Twin Knolls Email

Join us on


  Update - September 21, 2020 - Mass flyer to notify residents about the mine.

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On Sep 4 the Mine Inspector's Office and the Attorney General's Office were served with a Notice of Claim.
A Notice of Claim is required in Arizona to notify any state agency that we intend to sue them.
The issue is their failure to follow the legal notification process regarding the Reclamation Plan.
We are asking that they reset the entire approval process of the plan so the Mine Inspector's Office
can do proper notification in accordance with the law. We are now waiting for them to decide if they
will allow us to sue. The state has 60 days to respond.

Please note: It would be nice to have an attorney to handle this entire process, but we have been
unable to find an attorney willing to help us with this case for free and we do not have sufficient funds
to retain legal counsel.
We did consult with an attorney to verify our documents were correct.

We understand everyone has their own lives, things to do, responsibilities to deal with.
But so do we so please understand it's not easy reading through pages of legislation and regulations.
We are doing the best we can to follow the law with this process.

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Custom Landscape has submitted to the Maricopa Air Quality Department for an air quality permit.
If they meet the requirements, the county must approve the permit request.

On August 13 we provided the Maricopa Air Quality Department with data explaining in detail
why the Department's air quality permitting requirements are inadequate for this mine.

Their dust control precedures are designed specifically for mine sites at or below ground level.
Air flow over a hill of this size is much different than would occur over flat terrain.

We have provided evidence of the following conditions that will exist at this mine site:
1. An increase of mean wind speed with height,
2. strong turbulent fluctuations of wind speed at all heights,
3. a broad band of frequencies of the fluctuations or gusts, and
4. similar patterns of gusts at all heights.

These conditions are unique to this location on the top of a hill and are unlike any other mine
location they have ever approved. Since homes and families are all around this mine site, it is
critical for their permitting process to be well supported by studies of potential problems with
particulate control. The safety of this neighborhood requires it.

This neighborhood has been here for over 50 years.
If this permitting process allows a mine to be located right in the middle of the neighborhood,
a thorough study must be done to verify the effectiveness of dust and particulate controls.

The unique location of this mine on top of a 130 foot hill and it's incredibly close proximity
to neighborhood homes can not be treated casually as an administrative issue.
Any true and honest evaluation of these conditions will require studies to determine what
safeguards are necessary and what measures will be adequate to protect this neighborhood.

Here are copies of the permit request and air quality rules:
    Permit Application     Rule 316     Rule 316 Handbook

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Time line of what has transpired to date:

April 19, 2019 - Twin Knolls property owner John Oertle submitted a Mining Exemption Application to
the Maricopa County Planning and Development Department to allow for aggregate mining on the property.

May 2, 2019 - Ray Banker, Planner in the Maricopa County Planning and Development
Department, created a plan summary. The summary provided an aerial view of the subject property
clearly showing a heavily populated residential area surrounding the property.
There are also numerous businesses to the south of, and adjacent to, the Twin Knolls property.

December 2019 - The Final Reclamation Plan was submitted to the Mining Office.
According to this plan, mining operations are scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2020.

The week of February 10, 2020 - Some residents received a letter from the Arizona State
Mine Inspector’s Office dated February 5, 2020 advising of a meeting on March 11, 2020.
This letter was the first notification residents received about our new neighbor, the mine.
The March 11 meeting was to be about the reclamation plan only. The mine was already approved.

March 11, 2020 - Reclamation Plan meeting at the Arizona State Mine Inspector’s Office.
We attempted to table the meeting due to failure to properly notify homeowners as required by law.
The Assistant Attorney General, who headed the meeting, refused to table the discussion.
We were told only comments about the reclamation plan would be allowed at this meeting
but the plan was not available to anyone prior to the meeting and only 2 copies of the plan
were available at the meeting.

Custom Landscaping Materials stated they had done a study of the flora and fauna on the Knolls
and they said they found nothing.
We asked when mining was scheduled to begin. The answer was "we don't know".
AZ State Legislator John Fillmore attended and was very vocal in opposition of the mine.
Here is the March 11 meeting audio. You may have to download in order to play it.

March 14, 2020 - An article about the mine appeared in the Arizona Republic.
AZ Republic reporter Alison Steinbach interviewed Sam Schippers, vice president of
Custom Landscape Materials(CLM), the company leasing the land to do aggregate mining.
Schippers said a third party has done “thorough studies on the wildlife”.
“The only thing we’ve found of any concern was a significant population of rattlesnakes,” he added.

March 16, 2020 - We received the December 2019 Reclamation Plan Final.
This is when we learned mining operations were scheduled to begin in Spring of 2020.

March 29, 2020 - About 30 folks came out to protest the destruction of Twin Knolls.
Helen Hunter, who is running for LD16 House of Representatives, also showed up to help us protest.
Thank you to everyone who showed up to raise awareness of this scandal.

April 13, 2020 - Cathy had a call with Steve Chucri, County Supervisor.
They discussed the elusive Flora and Fauna study and Supervisor Chucri's office will try to
secure that from whomever may have it.
Supervisor Chucri has reached out to Oertle and to CLM and both have been none responsive.
A conference call was scheduled with the landscape company and they were a no show.

May 14, 2020 - We 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.

June 20, 2020 - Representative Fillmore addressed a neighborhood meeting
and 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.