Opposition to new NS intermodal yard in New Market, TN

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Jun 22 12:11:37 EDT 2009

The benefits derived from an intermodal rail yard extend far beyond
local considerations of the town of New Market. But the NIMBY reaction
is understandable; the locals think it should be 'somewhere else'.
Similar things happen all the time. Where I live, the NJ DOT has
started construction which will convert a traffic circle into a complex
overpass. This was preceded by years of meetings, petitions, web
sites, suggestions that the 3/4 mile long overpass will 'destroy our
town'. Progress has a price.

In nearby Camden, there was opposition to a concrete reprocessing plant
built on the Delaware River. Residents objected to noise, dust, etc.
The creation of desparately needed entry level jobs,
tax ratables, growth of local business, was ignored. Actually, the
intermodal yard seems less a problem to me than things like shopping
malls (traffic, crime) or industrial site (pollution, risk of
incident). The follow up to this story will be interesting.

-----Original Message-----
From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
To: NW-Mailing-List at nwhs.org; rlhs <rlhsgroup at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Mon, Jun 22, 2009 8:36 am
Subject: Opposition to new NS intermodal yard in New Market, TN

Intermodal rail yard opposition organizing

New Market residents want farmland saved

BY BETH ANN WALKER walkerb at knoxnews.com
Sunday, June 21, 2009


NEW MARKET - Norfolk Southern isn'
t interested in buying any of Debbie
Berry's 20 acres.

Her property - which has been in her family for 70 years - lies at the
very end of the proposed site of an intermodal rail yard.

But if it's built, she fears 100-foot-tall floodlights and the
thundering of freight cargo will replace her peaceful nights in rural
Jefferson County.

She told her story Saturday morning to more than 100 people gathered at
New Market Elementary School to continue organizing opposition to the
proposed Norfolk Southern rail yard, where freight would be exchanged
between trucks and trains.

Among those in attendance was state Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry
Plains, who said that while he isn't against the facility, he is
against destroying good land when there are other options.

"Don't sign anything, and don't give up," he advised residents.

The proposed site would cover several hundred acres of currently
agricultural land. "We aren't against intermodal transport. What we are
against is taking working farmland and just destroying it," Harvey
Young said.

Young was one of 10 residents who spoke before the County Commission
about the issue last Monday. Saturday's meeting attempted to further
inform residents and encourage them to fight to have the project moved
to a different location.

Norfolk Southern has said the facility would mean removing as many as
1.2 million truckloads of freight annually from the highway, helping=2
traffic and air quality, but Jefferson County residents say the
benefits in no way outweigh the ruin of usable farmland.

The railroad also has said it looked at sites from Knoxville to Greene
County and that New Market offered the best location based on factors
including the flatness of the land and interstate access.

Holly Young Williams, Young's daughter, said proper site selection is
key and pointed to existing industrial sites and abandoned brownfields.
"They need to reuse what's already been destroyed," she said.

More than 75 percent of Jefferson County's farmland has been converted
into other uses in the past two decades, according to The National
Agricultural Statistics Service.

The proposed development will consume almost 5 percent of the county's
remaining usable land.

Opponents say residents without farmland have a stake, too, citing
stormwater runoff, air pollution and destruction of historic graveyards
among other objections.

The rail yard also would be next to New Market Elementary School and
upwind from a hospital, nursing home and two other schools.

"We would never consider building our school next to their rail yard.
What gives them the right to build their rail yard next to our school?"
resident Alex Miller asked, to applause.

Opponents are writing letters to Norfolk Southern executives and
government officials and, instead of passing petitions, are
distributing cards that allow people to m
ake comments in addition to
signing their names. The cards will be posted on the Web and given to
the mayor.

Beth Ann Walker may be reached at 865-342-6336,

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