Letter from Custom Landscape cancelling the Twin Knolls mining contract
Thousands of hours went into saving our neighborhood. There are many others, too many to name,
who stepped up to make calls, post signs, write letters, deliver flyers, spread information and ask
for help from the community. Thanks to all of you!! We could not have done it without you!
There is now an ongoing effort to change the loophole law and our antiquated air quality rules
that created our nightmare; so although we are safe for now, we want to be safe forever.
We will continue to fight to change these horrific statutes and we will with continued support
from our community and legislators.
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. There were around 40 people attending.
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.
August 13, 2020 - Air quality permitting requirements are inadequate for this mine.
On August 13 we provided the MCAQD with scientific studies demonstrating why this is true.
As of December 10,2020, they have not responded with studies of their own contradicting these facts.
September 18, 2020 - 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.
March 5, 2021 - The mining company notified the landowner the contract is cancelled.
"As you are well aware, it is an understatement to say that the proposed gravel mine has been extremely
difficult. There has been resistance from the neighborhood, the news media, and the Maricopa County
Air Quality Department (MCAQD)."
"Moreover, it appears that any attempt to mine the property for gravel will be met with daily protests,
negative media coverage, and other obstacles."
"Pursuant to section F.2., this Agreement and Lease is automatically deemed cancelled and terminated"