Firm would pave Avra Valley Road in town - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Firm would pave Avra Valley Road in town

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Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:08 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

The developer of a landfill in West Marana would agree to pay for a surface overlay of Avra Valley Road within the town limits, a distance of more than six miles, Town Attorney Frank Cassidy told the Marana Town Council last week.

"We don't know the total cost at this point," said DKL Holdings representative Michael Racy. Pending a geotechnical review, that surfacing could "easily be" $1 million, he said Monday. With added turn lanes, a bridge repair or replacement and a signal light on Avra Valley Road, "in total, more than $2 million in improvements to Avra Valley Road" would come from the company.

Avra Valley Road is used by industrial and residential traffic alike, and is "a mess," Racy told the council last week. While a landfill would add 10 percent more traffic to the existing load, DKL has "recognized the existing deficiencies on Avra Valley Road. … It needs to be cleaned up right away."

DKL Holdings, now negotiating with Marana on a development agreement that would move forward as part of its proposal to build a commercial landfill, is hesitant to overlay approximately two miles of eastern Avra Valley Road where it sits within Pima County, and where it is on state right-of-way near I-10, Racy said.

"My suggestion is you don't want to give them an excuse to not do it," he said of the county and the state. "My recommendation is you don't do something that creates a disincentive … to improve that area right away." If DKL would agree to overlay that portion, "the state will formally say 'we're not going to do it.'"

The overlay, which Racy termed "a significant pavement restoration," would be in place before the landfill is open, he said. "We can't open without doing it," he added. At that time, if the remaining two miles of Avra Valley Road have not been improved by the other parties, "we'll do that as well," Racy said Monday.

Along with the overlay, the developer would also agree to install a right-hand turn lane on westbound Avra Valley Road onto northbound Sanders Road, a right-hand turn lane from eastbound Avra Valley Road onto southbound Sandario, and a right-hand turn lane from northbound Sandario onto eastbound Avra Valley. A traffic signal would be placed at DKL's expense at Avra Valley and Sandario once warranted, at least two years after opening, and at the town's direction.

A bridge over the east branch of the Brawley Wash on Avra Valley Road would be bolstered or replaced, "whatever is necessary," at DKL's expense, Racy said.

No hazardous waste, 'no ifs, ands, buts,' DKL says

Operators of a proposed landfill in West Marana could not take "any sort of hazardous waste as described by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, no ifs, ands or buts," DKL Holdings representative Michael Racy told the town council last week.

"There are no get-arounds, no work-arounds, no end-arounds," Racy said.

During discussion of a development agreement the town and DKL are negotiating, Councilman Jon Post expressed some trepidation about possible acceptance of hazardous waste at the landfill.

Racy reiterated that DKL has "absolutely committed in perpetuity" the commercial landfill "would never be permitted for anything other" than standard municipal and household waste. Some small amounts of household waste such as paint thinner may get in, Racy allowed, but not in sufficient sums to pose a threat.

Among several negotiated provisions in the agreement, which comes back to the council for further consideration on Aug. 10, the parties:

• agree on a formula to adjust host fees paid to the town. Annual adjustments would align with the federal consumer price index, with energy costs removed. The total host fee could not exceed 4 percent of the third-party cost to deposit in the landfill. The developer proposes to pay the Town of Marana $1.20 per ton as a host fee, with another 30 cents per ton to the Marana Unified School District. DKL's agreement with MUSD is being detailed in a separate agreement.

Recycled material, removed from accepted trash but not placed in the landfill, "does not count as tonnage," Racy said;

• agree the term of the agreement extends for the life of the landfill, which is "a very long term for a development agreement," Town Attorney Frank Cassidy said. "It protects us as much as it protects the developer;"

• acknowledge a 165-foot maximum height, down from 195 feet previously identified;

• say the town has a right to remove litter at the developer's expense if it's not done so by the owner at the end of the next business day following notice.

"Have you ever thought of a fine?" Councilwoman Carol McGorray asked.

Racy said DKL would have "a full-time staff on site doing this continuously, so the concept of a fine is agreeable."

DKL has said it would remove trash along Avra Valley Road from the landfill site to the interchange with I-10.

If DKL receives permits from the state of Arizona to open the landfill, bonds will be in place to close it, Racy said. Those are "escalating bonds," meaning they increase annually as the landfill becomes larger. "You'll never get into the situation you've got with a publicly owned facility," Racy said.

Vice Mayor Herb Kai, who owns the ground upon which the landfill would be developed, recused himself from the conversation.

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