Property owners say they are living in a 'war zone'

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Carla Lee says her property and other neighbors are nearly surrounded by landed used for testing military weapons. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Carla Lee says her property and other neighbors are nearly surrounded by landed used for testing military weapons. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Carla Lee says Gatling guns have been going off within hundreds of yards of the community near Maricopa. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Carla Lee says Gatling guns have been going off within hundreds of yards of the community near Maricopa. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MARICOPA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Carla Lee had big dreams of building a retirement retreat and camping area on the five acres just west of the city of Maricopa she bought back in 2004.

"It’s got saguaros. It's got incredible vistas and a mountain range in the back," said Lee.

But then a new neighbor started making some noise. Lee says it was without warning.

"They are flying their hew helicopters in 360 circles and firing at cars and blowing up trucks," said Lee.

Dillon Aero, a company that builds military machine guns and products, leased the land around Lee's property for 20 years and last year purchased it. This year, the planning commission rezoned it as a target area.

Lee and the other owners in the area are worried because their properties are nearly surrounded.

"They have been firing their Gatling guns which fire 3,000 rounds per minute at about 1,100 yards," said Lee.

One house is only 800 yards from the firing zone.

On Monday, Dillon Aero made an offer to buy Lee's property.

"We used to call it a 'dirty deal' and I don't think anyone with any knowledge who would sign," said Lee.

 She feels she is in a tough spot.

"There's no protection for us out there, no one there, no one standing up for us. If the Board of Supervisors doesn't protect us, there is no one to protect us," said Lee.

Statement from Dillon Aero:

Dillon Aero is proud to contribute to Arizona’s already strong commitment and contributions to our military for over 20 years. 

The zoning application permits the already existing uses of the land and allows for the implementation of a Foreign Trade Zone recently approved by the City of Phoenix, the City of Scottsdale and Maricopa County that is necessary to timely meet our military’s needs and to provide significant contributions and jobs to our local economy.   

The property and operations are closely reviewed by various federal agencies and Dillon maintains very high standards of safety, security and property management in all of its operations.

Dillon has been in contact with the landholders in the area, some since February of this year, and met with the landholders following the Planning Commission hearing. The company has also held a few conference calls and invited the landholders to participate in those calls.  

Dillon constantly strives for excellence and continues to be committed to working with and assisting neighbors, local communities, local first responders, our military and the various federal agencies that use and oversee its operations.

The company appreciates the Planning and Zoning Commission support provided upon Dillon agreeing to modify its request to address neighbor concerns.

The company looks forward to continuing to serve our military and contributing to our local economy.

Thank you, Heidi Short.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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