An amended development agreement between the Town of Marana and landfill developer DKL Holdings has been sent to the town planning commission for its study and recommendation.

On Aug. 10, a unanimous town council voted for planning commission review, thereby pushing back consideration of a zoning change that, if approved, would allow DKL to seek state permits to open a commercial landfill on land in Northwest Marana.

“There will not be any action, probably, for a couple months,” Mayor Ed Honea said after the Aug. 10 meeting. Honea thinks the subject might come back to the council “probably the first meeting in November.”

In the meantime, a public hearing on the Marana Regional Landfill Specific Plan zoning change was scheduled to resume at the Aug. 17 council meeting. Town staff wants both the zoning and development agreement “to be considered at the same time,” Town Attorney Frank Cassidy said, so staff is recommending a vote on the zoning change be continued from Tuesday until the development agreement is returned by the planning board.

“It’s the right project, it’s going to happen, we’re going to stay the course,” DKL principal Larry Henk said of the delay.

“We’ll go do it,” said Michael Racy, who is representing DKL Holdings in its quest to build a commercial landfill on property owned by Vice Mayor Herb Kai. “We’ve been absolutely by the book with everything to date, and we’ll continue to be.” The assignment back to the planning commission “adds a little extra time.”

Ron Asta, general manager of CPE Consultants and the leader of opposition to the landfill, had pointed out to the town its provision in code that certain development agreements can go to the planning commission for its review.

“The town took the position it did not need to go through that process,” Cassidy said Monday. “But the fact the question was raised, and we frankly are not necessarily in a big hurry with this, caused us to say ‘we don’t want to take any risk that the development agreement might be overturned just because of a procedural issue like that’.”

The development agreement, establishing terms and conditions for landfill operation outside of the permitting process, is “a pretty important element of the overall project,” Cassidy said. “We have no problem with the commission taking a look at it.

“Maybe they thought we were in a big hurry,” Cassidy said of landfill opponents. “We’ve never shown that, despite their comments to the contrary. If they think it might be helpful to have the commission take a look at it, that’s fine, and we’ll just go ahead and do that.”

A provision in town code regarding planning commission study of certain development agreements “has been slated for deletion for years,” Cassidy said. “The town has just never gotten around to doing it. We would address it as part of a comprehensive revision of the land development code.”

Honea said the development agreement is “pretty close” to finalization.

“People say we’re hurrying, and we’re really not,” Honea said. “We’re trying to vet this as much as we can.”

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