Vigneto Public Comment – Due by December 4th, 2017

 

Dear Friends and Neighbors of the San Pedro River Watershed,

Back in 2006, when the Whetstone Development in Benson was progressing, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) gave Permit # 2003-00826-SDM under the Clean Water Act, Section 404 to allow Whetstone to proceed with its plans. That permit was for 8,212 acres. El Dorado Holdings Benson purchased that permit in 2014 and has since attempted to develop many more acres under that permit with the tacit agreement of the USACE.   Six organizations sent notice of suit to the USACE with the demand that it confer with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) because of the known presence of certain threatened and endangered species on the land intended for development.           In July of 2016, USACE suspended the permit.

Now the USACE is requesting public comment in order to inform its decision to re-instate, modify, or revoke the permit. The current deadline is December 4. We urge you to read the Public Notice and submit comments on or before that deadline to ensure they are considered by USACE.

Click here to review the Army Corps Public Notice.

Below are some points to consider in crafting your comments:

  • The Size of the Development. Vigneto anticipates over 70,000 residents. To learn more about Vigneto’s vision of Tuscany in Benson, go to vignetoaz.com and click on the video. Benson’s average rainfall is 14 inches; Tuscany’s is 36;
  • The Development’s Impacts on air quality, water quantity, quality and consumption; vitality and integrity of the San Pedro River Watershed eco-systems which support the last free-flowing river and the last major migration corridor in the Desert Southwest;
  • The Development’s Impacts on the Benson area – including Dragoon, Cascabel, J-Six, Mescal, St. David and Pomerene – economy and quality of life;
  • The Development’s Impacts on local transportation, emergency services, health care, and school systems; and,
  • The Development’s Impacts on storm water management and erosion.

Remember that only a few years ago, the voters of Cochise County voted 2 to 1 against a very large proposed development just west of Benson, and succeeded.

To protect the vitality and integrity of our rural values and environment, use this link to Tucson Audubon Society or this link to The Sierra Club.

Both links provide you with the option to send a pre-drafted comment letter electronically to the US Army Corps of Engineers. You can edit the letter to include any additional concerns or issues you have with the development. Unless the comment period is extended, we must make our comments by December 4th.

Contact Anna Lands, CCA conservation committee healing@rnsmte.com