Opinion

Burks: ‘People power’ stopped recent land grab in Gold Canyon

Posted 8/13/21

Save the Superstition Mountain wilderness. Stop the reclassification of the Pinal County comprehensive plan from being changed from residential to employment of 11,700 acres of Arizona State Trust …

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Opinion

Burks: ‘People power’ stopped recent land grab in Gold Canyon

Posted

Save the Superstition Mountain wilderness. Stop the reclassification of the Pinal County comprehensive plan from being changed from residential to employment of 11,700 acres of Arizona State Trust Land.

This change, thankfully, has been stopped; however, if allowed, it would have changed the Superstition Mountain wilderness from its current beauty and serenity,

How was this stopped? It was “people power” due to the combined thousands who signed petitions, wrote letters, sent emails and made phone calls. And when the news broke regarding this change, approximately 1,500 residents came out to protest this devastating plan.

However, this is not over. There is another assault on the residents of the Superstition Mountain communities. There is a change being requested to the Pinal County plan to change the “buffer zone” from 1 mile to 660 feet between industrial developments and residential. So, a new battle begins. We are under assault from big government, big business and greed.

This is an Arizona issue, not just a local issue. For this piece of paradise exemplifies the “living desert.” The Superstition Mountain wilderness is a unique natural habitat that supports some of largest natural display of native plants, cacti and wildlife, along with over 15 hiking trails — including Hieroglyphic Canyon — waterfalls and native American artifacts and hieroglyphics.

Think about it, would we think manufacturing plants, solar power plants or the like would fit at the foot of Cathedral Rock in Sedona or at one the Grand Canyon National Park vistas? Absolutely not and not at the foot of the Superstition Mountain wilderness either.

There has been a pause, since Arizona State Land Trust officials have withdrawn their request, but we still must stop the change to the Pinal County Comprehensive Plan for the future by continuing this effort. Because, if changed, it would open the door again for the state land trust to sell the land to manufacturing plants, power plants, sewer plants, a sea of solar power panels and the like.

How can you help to stop any future change to the Pinal County comprehensive plan and the “buffer zone” change? You can support your neighbors by signing a circulating petition or sending emails to the Pinal County supervisors stating no to these changes and please save this irreplaceable pristine wilderness to:

  • Jeff.serdy@pinal.gov
  • Kevin.cavanaugh@pinal.gov
  • mike.goodman@pinal.gov
  • Steven.miller@pinal.gov
  • Jeffrey.mcclure@pinal.gov
  • Steve.abraham@pinal.gov

You can mail your disapproval to: Pinal County Board of Supervisors: Attention: Jeff Serdy, Kevin Cavanaugh, Mike Goodman, Stephen Miller, Jeffery McClure, P.O. Box 827, Florence, AZ 85132.

You can also mail to: Pinal County Planning & Zoning Commission: Attention: Scott Riggins, Chairman, Phillip Hartman, P.O. Box 827, Florence, AZ 85132.

Or send an email to the Association for the Development of a Better Environment: Please state: Stop the changes to the comprehensive plan and buffer zone and email your opposition to adobegoldcanyon@gmail.com. Include your contact info and ADOBE will forward your information to all decision makers. The ADOBE organization is committed to keeping the environment of Gold Canyon and the Superstition Mountain wilderness communities pristine.

Remember — what they can do to your neighbors can be done to you.

A big thank you to all who participated in the opposition to this comprehensive plan amendment. While we will never know the true reasons why this was withdrawn, we can’t dismiss that the way our community joined together, mobilized and took action was a contributing factor. We definitely made our voices heard.

A special thanks to ADOBE and the Gold Canyon Homeowners Alliance, which is a grassroots citizen initiative that was formed in early July, after approximately 1,500 people attended the July 1 meeting at the Methodist Church which first announced this issue; and to our former supervisor, Todd House, for his guidance and leadership, who is also a member of the alliance. Both groups have worked incredibly hard and smart in a short period of time to research the issues and determine the most effective course of action.

Both of these organizations are responsible for a FOIA request filing that uncovered so much damaging information.

This has been going on behind the scenes long before July 1; everyone brought into the loop signed non-disclosure agreements. An eventual rail spur into Gold Canyon was discussed and so much more.

We can’t help but see this as a temporary pause. We don’t know what their next step will be or what is being planned behind the scenes. We must continue all campaigns, we must impress upon all of our elected and appointed officials that development of this type is not appropriate or welcome in Gold Canyon and the Superstition Mountain communities. We urge you all to do the same.

There is another battle on the horizon — Pinal County Zoning Amendment No. PZ-C-004-21, which provides for a reduction in “buffer space” or setback from residential areas, as well as a reduction in the number of requirements for large multi-purpose developments. There is a public hearing of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors on Aug. 25 to vote on this issue. It has already been passed by planning and zoning.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief, but we must continue on. This does not appear to be over.

Editor's note: Pam Burks is a resident of Gold Canyon.

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