Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition: It’s Crunch Time

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If you’ve been following the shenanigans regarding the proposed Amtrak MLF (Maintenance & Layover Facility) in downtown Brunswick, you know that it will be a colossally large industrial facility directly adjacent to a residential neighborhood, and that it is as wide as the super WalMart in town, and even taller.

This facility does not belong in ANYONE’S NEIGHBORHOOD, let along those who live along Bouchard Drive.  There is no compelling rationale of any sort for locating it at the proposed site, and there are ample options for locating it elsewhere.  And those ‘elsewheres’ could spur further economic leverage of rail transit, including multi-modal options, and avoid detrimental effects on personal lives.

For some reason, NNEPRA, the in state quasi-governmental instrumentality of the state of Maine, is not open to other options.  And Brunswick municipal government, for reasons unknown, seems bound and determined to see that the huge and problematic facility is built right alongside the gateway into Brunswick, not too far from where the new Police Headquarters is supposed to charm incoming visitors.

The Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition has been formed to oppose the proposed location, and is working diligently to bring the facts and logic to the deliberations.  So far, they are being overwhelmed by the resources of the Federal Government and NNEPRA.

Things are coming down to the wire, and they are asking for our help.  We received this message from them today, and we ask our readers to consider it carefully, and as a minimum, attend the meeting at 5:30 on Thursday, September 26 in council chambers. 

You might even call your own town councilor and the town manager and let them know you don’t understand the dogged determination to build this type of industrial, heavy duty maintenance facility right smack in the middle of a middle-class Cape Brunswick neighborhood.

Dear Friends,

We've reached a crucial phase in our efforts to keep the huge overnight railroad layover and maintenance facility from disrupting our neighborhood. Now more than ever, we need your help.

We were just notified that the Federal Railroad Administration has approved the Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority. This means that the federal agency that oversees railroad construction in the US agrees that this huge industrial facility planned for our neighborhood will cause NO ADVERSE IMPACTS. None.

We know that's not true. We know that the impacts of this facility will be severe. But the FRA's action is the green light that NNEPRA has been waiting for.

What it comes down to is this: We have 30 days to show that this facility WILL adversely affect our neighborhood. If we are successful, a full federal review will be required. This would delay the project by at least a year, and potentially result in the facility not being built here at all.

If we are not successful in the next 30 days, construction may begin as early as this November, and our neighborhood – our way of life – will never be the same. We will be subjected to near-constant, excessive noise and vibrations at all hours of the night. Toxic diesel fumes will pervade our neighborhood. The lighting from this facility will erase the night stars.

Even worse, this facility will cause a huge drop in property values. Based on our review of recent home sales, WE ESTIMATE THAT THE EQUITY AND VALUE OF YOUR HOME WILL DROP BY 15-20 PERCENT – MAYBE MORE – if this facility is built.

This doesn't have to happen. There are better places for this facility than a quiet, residential neighborhood. And there's still time to stop it. But it won't happen without your help.


Now, more than ever, we need you to join with us to stop this travesty from happening. Most of our elected officials, the people we look to to represent us, have turned their back on us. They've rolled over for the railroad interests, suckered by the false claims that this facility is good for Brunswick, that it will bring jobs and economic development to the town.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There are no jobs associated with this facility. And because it will be exempt from local taxes and cause a reduction in the value of your home, Brunswick's tax revenues will decline, taking needed money away from our schools, our roads and other town services. You can bet that if this facility is built, another hike in property taxes is not far behind.

So what can you do?

1. NNEPRA will hold a public hearing at 5:30 on Thursday, Sept. 26 at the Brunswick Town Council Chambers. WE NEED YOU THERE. We need you to speak out and tell the rail officials that their Environmental Assessment is faulty; the impacts of this facility will be severe. In their rush to get this facility built, they've overlooked or disregarded what it will do to everyday life in our neighborhood – excessive noise, vibrations, toxic pollution, possible groundwater contamination, and more. That's why a full review of the environmental and socio-economic impacts of this facility should be required. Please come to the hearing on Sept. 26...even if you don't plan to speak. We need you there! Mark in on your calendar now!

2. You can provide written comments no later than Oct. 13 to:

Ms. Marina Douglass

NNEPRA

75 West Commercial Street

Suite 104

Portland, ME 04101

or email your comments to:

Marina@nnepra.com

3. And most of all, you can donate to our cause. We have amassed a huge record that without question shows the errors and outright malfeasance by certain officials throughout this process. But these facts will never come to light without legal action, and lawyers cost money. That's why we need you to contribute today! We have a donor who wishes to remain anonymous who will contribute $5,000 if we match it with a donation from another individual. But even if you can't give that much, please give what you can. A small donation today could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the loss of the value of your home. (And thank you to those who have previously given, but if you can, please give more.)


Please send your checks to:

Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition

24 Bouchard Drive

Brunswick, ME 04011

We’re sending our check along in the morning.  Even if you can’t contribute, please attend the meeting and support those who are about to have their domestic tranquility squashed by government edict.

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1 comment:

  1. Take a look at a satellite map of Brunswick and you will find at least three or four places along Bath road that would be perfect for this facility if it were needed. First and foremost is the fact that the railroad is a born loser as has been passenger rail since the 1930s and certainly not in a non-metropolitan area. That said, the government does what it wants to do and you can rest assured that someone other than the public is benefiting from its action. I have passed this on to the Chairman of the Neighborhood Org. but I don't know what he did or intends to do with it.

    Once the government flywheel is allowed to gain momentum there is no stopping it.

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