Concerned Residents Of Kirkland Say No To Man Camp
A group of concerned citizens is mounting a petition drive against the development of a transient housing development, aka “Man Camp” in the town of Kirkland. On Saturday, August 6th 10 am to 1 pm, volunteers with the No Man Camp Community Campaign (NMCCC) will be at the corner of Iron Springs Rd. and Kirkland Hillside Rd to collect signatures and rally support for their opposition.
The proposed Man Camp development is the result of Freeport McMoRan Bagdad Mine’s enormous expansion that will take place over the next few years. While the copper, molybdenum, gold and silver extracted from this mine are important and valuable commodities, some residents of Yavapai County are angry that their communities will be forced to pay an outsized and long term cost of the expansion. Up to 2,800 temporary or transient workers are expected to be involved in the expansion.
The Pronghorn Group, a development company, presented their plan on July 28, following a Yavapai County long range development plan meeting hosted by the district supervisor at the Skull Valley Community Center. They are seeking to rezone a 100 acre parcel in Kirkland to allow the building of the Man Camp to house them. They are proposing to construct an unspecified number of box dwelling units, each only 400 square feet in size. There will also be an unknown number of RV units.
Residents in this rural community where horses and cattle out number people are opposing any zoning change on land that currently allows only one house per 2 acres. They argue that the transient population of a Man Camp will more than double the population of Kirkland and Skull Valley. The infrastructure and social structure of the communities cannot handle that type of influx. While there are no pending applications with the county for the proposed development, NMCCC organizers are determined to be out in front of the issue.
They want to make it very clear to the developer that transient workforce housing is not welcome in the community.
Opponents are quick to point out that no one is objecting to the mine’s expansion. They simply believe it is the mine owner’s responsibility to house and manage their transient workers, not Kirkland’s. The proposed Man Camp site is 38 miles or over 50 minutes from the mine. They question why the workers cannot be housed in Bagdad, suggesting that perhaps it is because the mine owners know the influx of the transient workers, and the issues they bring with them, will not be welcomed in their own community.
Residents site numerous reasons why Kirkland is not an appropriate location for the housing of transient workers. The typical resident of Man Camps is male, between the ages of 20-40, with no local or familial ties to the community. Regardless of the “vetting process of the transient workers,” the developer spoke of, the sheer number of people in such a confined space with nothing to do after work will undoubtedly result in an increase in violence, drugs, alcohol abuse and sexual abuse in the area. Another large concern is that the proposed location is a half mile from the town’s school.
To date, there has been no meaningful plan proposed by the developer to address the increased traffic or the increased demand on public safety resources. Opponents cite that the current Sheriff’s Department is already understaffed. It is likely that county roads would need widening and additional turn outs would need to be added to handle the influx of vehicles. There would also be an increase in traffic to and from Prescott. Providing the extra police, fire and emergency services along with infrastructure and maintenance will be funded by current county taxpayers with minimal increase in sales tax revenue from the Man Camp. Water and waste water are also major concerns.
It is estimated that the Man Camp population will consume in excess of 128 million gallons in a year. Yet there has been no study to determine if the aquifer has the ability to provide that volume of water. That water loss comes at the expense of existing irrigation, agriculture and residential wells. Treated effluent would be injected back into the ground or discharged into Kirkland Creek. Both options negatively impact ground water quality for many years beyond the life of the camp.
Also included in the opposition’s talking points is the inevitable decline in land values in the community that a development of this nature would cause. They are concerned about the rural, secure environment that they enjoy. However, many of the concerns the group has are not confined to the towns of Kirkland and Skull Valley. The cost of providing services to a transient work force will likely impact all taxpayers in Yavapai County.
Members of the No Man Camp Campaign ask concerned Yavapai County residents stop by and sign the petition on Saturday. They also encourage people to communicate opposition to all 7 individuals listed below.
Please cc the NoManCampCampaign@gmail.com on your communication so we know how many emails are being sent each day.
Email, call and/or meet with the five County Supervisors to make your opinion known:
Harry Oberg tel. (928) 771-3206
James Gregory tel. (928) 649-6227
Donna Michaels tel. (928) 649-3207
Craig Brown (928) 771-3207
Mary Mallory – Chair (928)771-3209
Ben Snyder- the Developer:
Simon Charter -Freeport McMoRan Mine Public Relations: