Misinformation on barn sites
Last week, in his letter to the editor, Dennis Webster stated, "there seems to be a lot of false information going around about the highway garage." I totally agree.
Webster states that half the roads in Jamestown are in the north end therefore, there is no advantage to locating a highway garage in the center of the island.
The leaders of Jamestown's Emergency Response Team, Chief Tighe and Fred Pease, have stated the highway garage needs to be centrally located to insure the fastest response time in emergencies. They (the DPW) shouldn't be tied up for days trying to hack their way into town after a major event.
The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency has stated, "The operational benefit of co-locating the highway barn with each of the town's divisions that have a critical role in disaster response is highly supported."
Concerning costs, Webster overlooked a key point- the kind of roads on the north end. The north end has a mixture of paved, dirt and paper roads. None have sewer or water pipes and there are few storm water drains. The roads on the rest of Jamestown contain buried water, sewer and storm pipes. Time is the missing component here; the roads outside of the north end require considerably more time to build and much more time to maintain.
Webster further notes that a highway garage located between the Newport Bridge and sewer plant would create a split facility operation. Our Town Administrator, Bruce Keiser, pointed out last week that this is not the case; he stated that all daily material storage and operations can be handled from the bridge authority location. A split facility "would" be created if we build the garage on lot 47. Why is this so? Because DEM has mandated that no fuel or salt/sand mixture can be stored on Lot 47. Additionally, they have banned all truck washing activities at this site. All are currently accomplished elsewhere and can be accomplished at the sewage treatment plan.
For some reason Webster continually references wealthy neighbors as the reason the highway garage has not been built on the landfill or Lot 47. The truth is for years the town's approach has been to try to hide a highway garage at various locations on or adjacent to the landfill. At each location the roadblock has been the skyrocketing costs necessary to conform to DEM environmental requirements. There have been no lawsuits by the neighbors. Let's end the phony wealthy neighborhood conspiracy. The neighbors have done nothing more than any neighborhood would do if a landfill was abutting their property- work with DEM to insure landfill closure regulations are being met, nothing more and nothing less.
Lot 47 is a red herring at best, and placing any building there is many years away. There is no current way to adequately reach it; a road needs to be built through the landfill or through a congested neighborhood. There are multiple DEM and zoning requirements that will have to be met before any road is allowed to go over the landfill or through an undersized road in a congested neighborhood - resolving these requirements will take years and years and will once again result in skyrocketing costs. DEM has also placed severe restrictions on the quantity of water that can be drawn from Lot 47. Why did DEM do this? Because their drawdown tests indicated the potential to move contaminated water from under the landfill towards the wells of the new and growing residential neighborhood to the east.
The Town Council's choice not to build on the landfill or Lot 47 was one of common sense. The common sense thing for the public to do now is to back their decision and place the highway garage where it belongs- in a central location, where it will not result in a split facility, where it is hidden from view, has no impact on the surrounding neighborhood, has no potential environmental issues, can be built now and has zero potential for skyrocketing costs.
Vote yes on Aug. 28.
North Main Road