Youngtown, HOA sue over mining operation - Your West Valley News: Youngtown

Youngtown, HOA sue over mining operation

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Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013 9:55 am | Updated: 11:04 am, Fri Jul 26, 2013.

Youngtown and the Agua Fria Ranch Homeowners Association have sued the developers of a proposed sand and gravel operation next to the Agua Fria Ranch subdivision.

The suit, filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court against Olive Avenue, LLC and the Salt River Materials Group, alleges that the project poses an imminent safety and health risk. SRMG is a commercial enterprise of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

“We did not want to take this step, but for years SRMG has refused to address our concerns,” said Youngtown Mayor Mike LeVault. “If our positions were reversed, I’m sure they would be quite upset about someone putting a sand and gravel operation 50 feet away from a neighborhood of 2,500 people.”

Olive Avenue and SRMG have announced plans to operate a sand and gravel mining operation near 116th Avenue and Olive Avenue, within as few as 35 feet of the adjacent Agua Fria Ranch subdivision, which has 783 homes, Youngtown officials stated Thursday in a release.

Several thousand other homes, in Youngtown and El Mirage, “are also in close proximity to the proposed mine site,” officials said.

The suit alleges that the mine operators have failed to evaluate the risk that a proposed berm threatens to degrade existing flood control measures protecting the homes, raising the potential for a flood.

The complaint alleges that the proposed mining operation will create an elevated risk of flooding due to the fact that when Olive Avenue and SRMG applied for a permit to operate in the 100-year floodplain they used out-of-date information and failed to properly analyze the impact of the proposed berm and sand and gravel pit on existing flood control measures that protect the Agua Fria Ranch neighborhood from flooding.

Dr. Kathryn French, president of the Agua Fria Ranch Homeowners Association, said the residents were also worried about the potential for dust emissions from the proposed operation.

“There are innumerable studies demonstrating that fine particulates pose a health risk, especially to the very young and the elderly,” French said. “And at a time when Maricopa County is struggling to achieve compliance with air quality standards, it’s mind-boggling that this sort of operation is even being considered in such close proximity to so many homes.”

According to the suit, EPA studies show that exposure to particulate emissions — such as those from sand andgravel mining and processing — is linked to a variety of health problems, including premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, increased respiratory symptoms, irritation of the airways, coughing and difficulty breathing.

EPA studies also indicate that there is a causal relationship between even short-term exposure to particulates and respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

The court scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to take evidence regarding the claims.

If the court finds that sufficient risk is imposed by the proposed mine, it may grant a preliminary injunction that stops all work at the site until the merits of the case can be considered, Youngtown officials said.

The court may also require that the berm be torn down if completed between now and Wednesday’s hearing.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • pinz posted at 10:03 pm on Fri, Aug 23, 2013.

    pinz Posts: 1

    I am a resident and parent of two young boys, living in Youngtown. I have seen the life style change and the residents change since we started fighting with the Olive Avenue and SRMG. This use to be a town full of home owners that where proud to take care of there homes and have their children play outside. With the sand and gravel mining right next our homes and our park we will not even be able to go outside of our houses or our children play in the park with the pollution causing mine right next to us.
    When we purchased our home back in 2005 we where never told that this could be a possibility, or that we would be facing this type of ordeal. We have already seen our house prices fall more than half of what the value was a few years ago and now we have this negative affecting our home values, our health and especially our children's health.
    It is beyond comprehension that Arizona still allows mining pits right next to families, neighborhoods and parks. This needs to be against the law and fought until it is!

  • hope33 posted at 8:52 am on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    hope33 Posts: 59

    I disagree. I think they should regulate these mining companies a bit more.
    There is plenty of mining operations out here in the west valley.
    I live close to one myself in Sun City, and all you hear is a lot of noise, but I am more concerned about the large piling of debris that was once a view for homeowners. The debris piles is what is the problem and health risk. No, the Mayor is correct in looking into this.


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