2007-02-15 / Letters to the Editor

End politics of highway barn

This is in response to Lisa Tyre's letter in the Feb. 8 issue of the Press. "Voters spoke on highway barn."

The writer may be another victim of the misinformation campaign that has been spread by various petitions and letters concerning the landfill and property surrounding the landfill.

First…the letter writer states Lot 47 was purchased to erect a highway barn. This is simply not true. Council documents clearly state Lot 47 was purchased to act as a buffer for the landfill and as having the potential to be a future site for a highway garage. With the controversy surrounding the protection of drinking water all over the island, common sense dictates Lot 47 should remain as a buffer zone.

Second… the letter writer states, voters reaffirmed by a 2-1 vote to place the highway barn on or near the landfill and since this is a democracy, democracy should rule. She further states, "What gives anyone the right to disregard this clearly voiced will of the people." These statements are also not factual, the voters authorized the town to spend $75,000 to determine the feasibility and cost to place a highway garage on the former landfill property. The voters have never voted to place, or not place, the highway garage at any location in the town, they have voted strictly to spend or not spend various sums of money.

I would also like to remind the writer that a larger than 2-1 majority of Jamestowners, as well as the Town Council, voted to place a large oil refinery at the north end of Jamestown. The few residents who opposed this large refinery, I believe it was eight, were vilified in the press and by the voters for their opposition to that refinery. Thank God this group had the foresight, wherewithal, and fortitude to oppose the majority . . . the majority isn't always correct.

Third… The writer, as well as Councilman Kelly in a separate letter to the editor, indicated the highway barn could be a potential polluter of surrounding wells, or the reservoir, if built on Lot 71, which is behind the soccer field (near Eldred Avenue). This lot also happens to be in their neighborhood. Ironically, both condone building the barn on top of or abutting a landfill proven to contain various levels of known carcinogens. Carcinogens that several experts, with credentials exceeding Mr. Kelly's, feel could migrate into surrounding wells if the landfill were disturbed.

The further irony here is, a north end minority must again step forward with foresight, wherewithal, and fortitude to protect itself from those willing to accept a risk to north end well water that they would not tolerate in their own back yard.

It's time to end the politics and build the highway barn where it should be built …at the sewage treatment plant. Not at Taylor Point, but between the sewage treatment plant and the Newport Bridge, where enough land is available, where it cannot be seen from the bridge, where it can be screened from Bayview Drive, where sewers are available to treat runoff and potential pollutants, and which allows for future treatment plant expansion.. This location also makes the most economic/operational sense because of its central location. Additionally, a recent design study indicates the highway barn would fit quite nicely there.

Over the last five years, the town has spent several hundred thousand dollars trying to force-fit this project into areas it doesn't belong. It's time to eliminate the politics and put the same effort into placing this "potential polluter" in the only location that makes economic and environmental sense.

Raymond Iannetta, 1219 North Main Rd.

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