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Permit suspended for Villages at Vigneto development

The permit has been suspended for the Villages at Vigneto development near Benson.
The permit has been suspended for the Villages at Vigneto development near Benson.(Google Maps)
Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 3:29 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Army Corps of Engineering suspended the permit for a controversial development that could have increased the city of Benson’s population by tens of thousands.

The Army Corps of Engineering suspended the permit that would allow El Dorado, LLC to develop Villages at Vigneto. The development was initially slated to have 28,000 homes, parks, and a golf course and increase the city’s population from 5,200 to 70,000.

The developer’s permit on part of the land was suspended in 2016, stopping El Dorado, LLC from filling in 51 acres of waters.

The suspension came during litigation in a lawsuit filed by six conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, against the Army Corps and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The lawsuit claimed the Army Corps didn’t consider the impact groundwater pumping could have on the San Pedro River and wildlife in the area.

During public meetings with the City of Benson, numerous residents cited concerns that the increased population could overburden schools, negatively affect the environment and cause water supply issues for homes.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva said in a Thursday press release the project’s developer, Mike Ingram, had close ties to the Trump administration. An attempt Thursday to reach El Dorado, LLC for additional comment was unsuccessful.

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