photo 3Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing the history and current condition of the city’s airport. The reason for this long overdue discussion is the resurrection of John F. Long’s Trust (read Jake Long and siblings) to once again bring forward an excavation and mining operation across Glen Harbor Blvd. and 450 feet away from the airport proper. To give you some perspective the length of a football field is 100 yards or 300 feet. The proposed mining operation would be only 1 ½ football fields away from the airport.

Why should you, as a Glendale resident or user of the city airport, care? A 20 or 30 year mining operation across the street from the airport will create irrevocable economic harm to the entire city. The city is working hard to maintain the airport as a viable entity and to reinvigorate it with new economic development.  An active, healthy city airport earns sales tax revenue for the city and contributes to a more robust city economy. This proposed project is in direct contradiction to the city’s goal.

We have seen that the airport has the potential to be economically successful during the city’s hosting of the Super Bowl. Dozens of corporate jets flew into the city airport because of its close proximity to Westgate, the Renaissance Hotel and the Stadium. When the national great recession hit, it stopped all economic growth at the airport in its tracks. The airport has yet to recover.

What is this project all about?  Several years ago, Jake Long (John F. Long’s son who took over the business after his Father passed away) met with former Mayor Scruggs and me to propose a Special Use District Overlay for their land. At that time we indicated that we could not and would not support such a proposal. The Long’s went away knowing that there was no support on the former council to move forward with their request.

photo 1The current proposal and its presentation are very slick. In it there are 4 phases of development including mining, commercial, office, light industrial and an option for live/work but none of the non-mining development will occur until after the mining operation has stripped the land of every nickel it can produce. That will be in 20 or 30 years. To make the mining more palatable the carrot is to develop the land for airport related commercial uses but not for many, many years. Their stated reason for requesting the mining is, “This SUD will provide a reliable mechanism to finance the installation of necessary infrastructure without coming to the City for support or overwhelming the site with private debt.” The city is not required nor bound to finance infrastructure for a private developer. That is the developer’s responsibility. So what they are really saying is that they don’t want to be responsible for their own loan to develop the infrastructure on their property.

Why is this not a good project? It is in direct opposition to economic development of the airport. Do you see mining at Deer Valley Airport or Goodyear Airport? No, of course not. It will create visual, auditory and environmental blight. Visually, across the street from the airport, 450 feet away will be a 10’ dirt berm (that’s about half the height of your home) and behind it will be a pit with the excavation equipment. Noise from the heavy equipment will be heard at the airport, all day long, 365 days a year and will create auditory blight. Environmentally, dirt and dust will drift, every day, from the mining operation on to the airport and will damage delicate aircraft engines and supporting aircraft equipment. That’s a given as winds in the Valley typically blow from west or southwest to the east. This mining operation is directly west of the airport.

What can you do to let the city know that you do not support this proposed project? You can do two things. Right now, as you are reading this fire off a letter to the city’s Planning Director, Jon Froke, asking him to recommend denial of this proposed project. Below is a sample letter that you can use. Please add your own reason for your opposition:

Your name

Your address


City of Glendale Planning

Attn: Jon Froke

5850 West Glendale Avenue, Suite 212

Glendale, Arizona 85301-2599


Dear Mr. Froke:

I oppose the use of land immediately adjacent to and across Glen Harbor Blvd. for the purpose of mining and excavation because (fill in your reason here).

I urge the your department to recommend denial to the Planning Commission and the City Council of the proposed Special Use District Overlay (SUD) requested. Thank you for your consideration of my request.



Your name


If you are a Glendale resident living anywhere in the city or have used/currently using the airport you should plan to attend the Public Meeting hosted by the applicant. Mark your calendars now. I will be there to voice my opposition. The meeting will be:


Monday, August 5, 2013 at 6 p.m.

Airport Conference Room (second floor)

Glendale Municipal Airport

6801 North Glen Harbor Boulevard

Glendale, Arizona


photo 2Numbers count in this matter. What do we typically do when asked? We say someone else will do it or my voice doesn’t count. Not this time. Your voice added to dozens of others will be the catalyst to stop this proposed project. After all, the Glendale Airport needs your help.