The Pima County Board of Supervisors gave approval Tuesday for the county to buy land south of Raytheon Missile Systems.

The 382 acres will cost about $6 million. The property will be used to give the area's largest employer a safety buffer for its missile-manufacturing operations.

It will also be developed as a research park.

A second part of the plan - moving a road in the proposed buffer area - could be part of a future bond issue to be decided by voters.

Supervisor Ann Day wanted assurances taxpayers will one day get the money back when the county sells the property to a developer, especially when that money could be used for other priorities, such as road repairs.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said taxpayers are getting a good deal on the land because real estate prices are low. The property will be sold for a minimum of $6 million in the future, he said.

The local machinists' union, the Tucson Metro Chamber, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc. (TREO) and the D-M50 support the plan.

In other actions, the board passed a resolution opposing HB 2656, state legislation that would give six local jurisdictions equal votes on the Regional Bond Accountability Committee. Supervisor Sharon Bronson said the proposed law would have a chilling effect on regional cooperation.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 573-4346.