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					P&Z Meeting Minutes – Prescott
April 4, 2007
Page 14

9.    Use Permit; APN: 500-08-002; HA# H6166
Applicant:      Intermountain West Energy
Agent:          James Cox
Request:        Consideration of a Use Permit in order to allow for the storage and distribution of
commercial explosives. A maximum of 272,000 pounds of explosives plus a maximum of
approximately 120,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate are to be distributed among four separate
storage locations on an approximately 41.16-acre parcel zoned RCU-2A (Residential; Rural; 2-
acre minimum) zoning district. Located 3.1 miles south of the Community of Mayer off of Blue
Bell Road. S26 T11.5N R01E G&SRB&M Staff: Shakeeb Shariff

Shakeeb Shariff, Planner, began the Staff presentation by presenting a photo of the location of
the subject property, the access and the surrounding zoning. He presented an aerial map which
showed this was a very remote area surrounded by the Prescott National Forest on all sides
except for a portion to the south which bordered the Blue Bell Mine. He presented photos
showing other existing explosive storage sites. He presented the site plan showing the access
and three areas or points that would be storing the blasting agents, detonators and high
explosives and one to store the ammonium nitrate (Point 5 on the site plan) and photos of the
surrounding hills which would help protect in case there was an explosion. They would be set
back 75 feet from the property boundary line. He said there would be a maximum of 272,000
pounds of explosives plus a maximum of approximately 123,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate.
He stated regarding security there would be two fences, the perimeter would have a barbed wire
fence and inside that a six foot chain link fence with security wire on top. Also, he said a solar-
powered (battery backup) would monitor the chain link fences and the explosive magazines and
would record and document each entry. He said it was monitored by a third party that would
directly report any unauthorized activity to the local sheriff. He said additionally all storage
magazines were required to have two padlocks with at least five tumblers and a case hardened
shackle of at least 3/8-inch diameter. He said as to the Citizen Participation, there were no
neighbors except for the Prescott National Forest and they had no objections, and after numerous
attempts the Applicant was unable to contact the Blue Bell Mine operation property owner. Two
main issues: 1. Setbacks 2. Appropriateness of location of the property. He said Staff had
recommended Stipulations.

Chairman Garner opened the discussion to the Commission.

Commissioner Lindner asked if Attorney Schurr would reassure the Commission that there would
be no liability to the County with this type of application, if there was a breach of security.

Attorney Schurr said there would be no County liability; however, he did want to mention that the
site plan might need modifications to meet the Building Code requirements.

Commissioner Lindner asked if his statement to the Building Code requirements also referred to
the screening going with a chain link as opposed to a solid wall.

Attorney Schurr replied that was not the issue; the question was with the location and the quantity
of the munitions that might be acceptable under the Code and the site plan might have to be
modified and should be stipulated to give them the ability to be able to make the modifications to
the site plan.
Commissioner Kerkman asked if the setback issue could be waived, could it not? As he
understood it the real issue was the distance between buildings and not the distance between the
buildings and the property line.
P&Z Meeting Minutes – Prescott
April 4, 2007
Page 15

Attorney Schurr said the problem was that the proposed use was not a currently allowed use and
so they were requesting a Use Permit to allow it under the Zoning Ordinance and the Building
Code was an entirely separate document. He said there were no mechanisms through this Use
Permit process to waive provisions to the Building Code.
Chairman Garner said regarding the security issue, and screening waiver, chain link in this
particular situation was probably more secure because it would allow the security systems they
were going to install to actually work, whereas a block wall would not provide that type of intrusion
alert. He said the visibility issues were significantly reduced with solid screening.

Commissioner McClelland said she understood the security alarm system would only be installed
on the interior fences and asked if it would also be installed around the entire property.

Chairman Garner said he didn’t believe so.

Mr. Shariff replied he believed it would be installed on the magazines themselves, but would defer
to the Applicant.

There being no further questions of staff, Chairman Garner opened the floor to public

James Cox, Agent, took the floor to answer any questions or provide additional information
concerning the Application. Mr. Cox introduced Thaddeus Speed, of Speed Enterprises
(consultant and explosives code issue expert), Mr. Jay Lungren, Vice President of Intermountain
West Energy, Mr. Zack Bellus, Field Product Manager for Dewalt Jobsite Security, Mr. Ed Hanks,
the landowner, and Mr. Dave Maggard, Consultant. He gave a brief background of Intermountain
West Energy stating they had been in business about ten years and had additional explosive
storage facilities through the Northwest.

Chairman Garner said their biggest concern was regarding the security system as Commissioner
McClelland asked and wondered if that would be a perimeter system as well as magazine

Mr. Cox replied not on the entire 40 acres, but on the chain link fence around the magazines and
on the magazines themselves.

Commissioner Kerkman asked where would these products generally be distributed, throughout
the State or was this a larger distribution.

Mr. Cox replied throughout the State, from mines in Kingman, clear down to Tucson, Superior,
anywhere in the State where someone might use explosives (mining, construction) and by a legal
licensed user.

Chairman Garner stated this was a wholesale and not a retail distribution center and that would
eliminate the smaller, individual user, and no on-site pick-up and all the vehicles used would be
company leased or owned, was that correct?

Mr. Cox replied all the vehicles would be company owned and it was a wholesale business.

Commissioner Jackson asked what kind of ignition it would take to set off a magazine like this.

Mr. Cox said a possible lightning strike or something like that, but he would defer that to
Mr. Thaddeus.
P&Z Meeting Minutes – Prescott
April 4, 2007
Page 16

Mr. Thaddeus said the reason that it was separated into three different magazines was because
there were three different hazards. He said the blasting agent itself was very difficult to get ignited
and in fact, one had to use a booster agent to get it to ignite. The second magazine was the
booster, and that could probably be detonated by a bullet, however, that was why the magazine
was bullet resistant per the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF&E)
requirements. He said the detonator magazine which was separate was the most sensitive and
that was the reason detonators were required by the Fire Code to be in a separate magazine. He
said if an event in one magazine should happen, the distance between the magazines would
prevent a simultaneous event in another magazine.

Chairman Garner stated he’s had a lot of experience in the explosive industry and a brush fire
was not a concern and just the proximity to the forest was not an issue with that because
magazines were “fire resistant,” but you would have a really hard time setting one on fire no
matter how hard you tried, they were ventilated, and they had all the necessary precautions.

Commissioner Lindner wanted more information as to what was going to go on at this site and
noted they picked this site over a mining site where they would have had the right for this facility
by State Statute, and he would like to know why.

Mr. Cox replied they had looked at a few quarries which had existing inhabited buildings near the
mining operation and that eliminated those sites. He said the number one concern with storing
explosives was public safety, and one of the main concerns after September 11 with ATF was
public access, and the ideal source was a piece of deeded ground surrounded by public property
which allowed them the needed buffer zone where they could control the public access.

Commissioner Lindner said he felt he had explained that and the regulating authority for mining
law in the State allowed for the storage of this type of material.

Attorney Schurr stated the wholesale selling/storage of explosives would not qualify as a mining
exemption but the on-site storage of explosives would qualify.

Commissioner Lindner replied that answered his question. He said they had discussed the
security of the buildings and what would prevent the ignition of the dynamite, they saw a lot of
high caliber rifles for sale at sporting good stores, would this prevent ignition.

Mr. Speed said the buildings were designed to be bullet resistant but they were not bullet proof.
He said the normal arms available to the general public would be stopped or slowed down
enough not to cause ignition.

Commissioner Lindner said his other concern was with security, they had seen some activity
where people had gone in and stolen these types of things and asked if they had checked into the
response time of the sheriff to this area and what would prevent this getting into the hands of the

Mr. Speed said the alarm would go off when they breached the gate to the magazine, but there
would also be the locks required by ATF on the magazines.

Mr. Cox said these would not be something that could be cut with a pair of bolt cutters, one would
have to get a cutting touch in there to get to the padlock and that would breach the alarm system
that would be tied into the sheriff.

Commissioner Lindner said he had concerns because there had been break-ins in the State of
Arizona where determined individuals had gone in and taken this stuff, and he was concerned
P&Z Meeting Minutes – Prescott
April 4, 2007
Page 17

that they did not have that in Yavapai County at this facility and that they did the most to prevent

Mr. Cox replied that was their intent.

Commissioner Barnert said they had made reference that they were purchasing a Dewalt system
and asked if the security expert could respond to that.

Mr. Zack Bellus said the system worked on a cellular system that called out to a central system
and that system had a direct connection with the police. He said any type of vibration or
tampering would set off the alarm and within seconds the police would get notice.

Commissioner Barnert asked if any area lighting would be triggered with the alarm system.

Mr. Bellus said not this one, there was no area lighting.

Commissioner McClelland said her concern was that they all realized there were terrorists out
there and she would like to know what the response time was for the sheriff to get there.

Mr. Bellus said he did not know.

Commissioner McClelland said she was very familiar with response times and it could be a half
an hour at least and by that time, they could be in and out.

Mr. Ed Hanks, property owner, said there was only one road in and out, it was an old County
graded road. He said about the response time, from Mayer it was 1 or 1½ miles to the sub-station
and it would depend on the number of deputies, etc., but to keep in mind there was only one
access road in and out and this added to the security, as the road could easily be blocked within
a mile from the facility.

Commissioner McClelland asked if the Mayer Sherriff substation was manned 24-hours.

Mr. Hanks replied as far as he knew, yes, to his knowledge it was.

Commissioner McClelland said she did not know that and it made a big difference to her.

Attorney Schurr said one deputy may not be effectively able to cover a dozen assault rifles and
they had not referred that to the Sheriff’s office for comment, but they would before this proposal
went to the Board of Supervisors.

Commissioner Barnert wanted to thank the Applicant for including the correspondence from
various fire marshals and jurisdictions around the Country and suggested it might help to get
response time from those jurisdictions as well. He also wanted to point out that when you get a
response time for domestic violence or drunk driving versus something like this, it was a little bit
different code that went out on the radio.

Commissioner Lindner noted there was a battery backup on the security system, was that correct.

Mr. Bellus replied yes, and it also had a low battery alarm notification on it as well. He said there
was also tamper sensors and everything else, if they were able to move the entire magazine
there was a GPS tracker on the magazines that was able to go into buildings where the normal
GPS did not.
P&Z Meeting Minutes – Prescott
April 4, 2007
Page 18

Commissioner Kerkman said they asked for a three year permit and it did not look like this
operation would end in three years.

Mr. Shariff said they went with the three years to allow it to be reviewed.

Mr. Cox replied their intent was to be there permanently.

There being no public comment, the floor was closed to public participation and returned to the
Commission for further discussion and/or a motion.

Commissioner Jackson made a motion to recommend approval of the Use Permit, HA# H6166,
with the following Stipulations. Commissioner Stewart seconded the motion.

    1. Use Permit to be approved on a 3-year basis as per the Letters of Intent dated
       February 8, 2007 and March 4, 2007; and the Site Plans dated February 8, 2007,
       February 22, 2007 and March 19, 2007, *or as modified by Development Services to
       meet building code requirements.
    2. Development to conform to all applicable codes and ordinances.
    3. Use Permit to be reviewed by the Commission and Board, upon any residential
       development of Prescott National Forest Land or Blue Bell Mine land, within 2,275 feet of
       the facility.
    4. Applicant to apply for a Federal Land Policy and Management Act Easement for use of
       Blue Bell Road and National Forest System Road (NFSR) 9264J on National Forest
       Service land prior to initiation of use.
    5. *Waiver of solid screening requirement.
    6. In the event the owner of the subject parcel files a claim under ARS Section 12-1134
       regarding this application, this Use Permit shall be null and void.
*Verbiage per the Commission

The vote was 7 to 2. Chairman Garner and Commissioners Kerkman, Stewart, Province,
Jackson, Barnert and Reilly voted in favor of the motion to approve. Commissioners Lindner and
McClelland voted in opposition to the motion to approve due to their concerns with security and
due to its location not being in the County’s best interest.

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