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IRNA Letter to Army Corps RE: AAF

  In respnse to this, IRNA composed the following letter. 

 

April 28, 2016

 

Andrew Phillips, Project Manager

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

400 High Point Drive, Suite 600

Cocoa, FL 32926

 

RE: SAJ-2012-01564 (SP-AWP)

        . Request to extend comment period for permit application

        . Request for public hearing in Indian River County

 

cc: Eric Muldowney, Senior Regulatory Scientist  

      John Juilianna  Regulatory Coordinator       

      Re: Permitting Application  ERP #135214-2 AAF, N-S Rail Corridor Segment, DO8 (FEC Railroad MP 133.9 to MP 233.4).  

 

Dear Mr. Phillips,

 

On behalf of a wide representation of people in Indian River County this letter is written to request an extension of the comment time and a public hearing in our county with regard to the above referenced permit application for All Aboard Florida (AAF) passenger rail service and expanded freight transport on the same rail system. A list of those participating in this "Train Impact Coalition" is presented at the conclusion of this letter. 

 

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has not identified impacts to our natural and human environments in both their Draft (DEIS) and Final Environmental Impact Statements (FEIS). This is understandable because there were no Scoping meetings neither advertised nor held in our County and when the governments of Sebastian, Vero Beach and the County each individually applied for Cooperating Agency status because of jurisdictional authority and local knowledge they were all denied.  Public meetings conducted by AAF did little to improve acknowledgement of impacts.   

 

Our Coalition formed with the intent of inserting our concerns into the process outlined by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We acknowledged AAF and expanded freight rail transport were private enterprises on private land and our responsibility was to assure potential impacts were identified and mitigated as necessary and appropriate. Our concerns and impacts were represented to the FRA in responses to both the DEIS and the FEIS.  

 

We continue to maintain our impacts are not acknowledged. Nor have we been provided with requested information so that we can accurately represent specific impacts to public health, safety and economic well-being.  For your information a list is presented here which outlines some of these concerns:  

 

  • Expanded freight: projected speed, length and crossings per day and per hour for both full and partial capacity.
  • The right-of-way for double tracking through the County showing proximity to structures which may require measureable impact of noise and vibration.
  • The plan for bridges, canals and adjacent lands to include construction containment
  • Plan for construction of crossing upgrades that will not interfere with vehicular travel.
  • Protection of wetlands and the imperiled waters of the Indian River Lagoon from both construction and stormwater runoff.
  • Pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic for crossings to include elderly and handicapped citizens, school buses to include transport of minority students, and emergency, fire and law enforcement personnel.
  • Pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular queueing awaiting trains to pass through single crossings as well as multiple crossings in close proximity to each other.  
  • Protection of potable water supply with note of historic public water well in Gifford close to existing tracks.  
  • Impact to downtown Vero Beach due to differing statements about whether one or both of their crossings would be closed. 

 

The 90% Plan, less permitting, if it had been issued, could have provided much of the information we sought. However, lacking both that Plan and a response to these requested clarifications from the FRA-AAF we could only identify what we needed to know regarding the affected environment and consequences, environmental justice, public health and safety and cultural and historic resources. This has not changed.

 

You will also be receiving separate responses from members of our Coalition, most notably The Historical Society in reference to Section 106, the primarily African American community of Gifford, the old Vero Man Ice Age Archeological Site, and Wildlife Protection by Friends of St. Sebastian River. It is important to note that members of our Coalition also include representatives from communities in southern Brevard County. A response from them will also be submitted. 

 

The St. Johns River Water Management District is copied on this email for their water management.

 

Kindly consider extending comment time and holding a public hearing so our concerns may be addressed. Thank you for your attention to this communication. 

 

May I have acknowledgement you received this email?

 

Sincerely,

Honey Minuse, Chair

Indian River Neighborhood Association

        1905 Robalo Drive

        Vero Beach, FL 32960 

        (H) 772-562-0144

 

For the Train Impact Coalition (TIC)

 

List of Participants:

Penny Chandler, Indian River County Chamber of Commerce
Beth Mitchell, Sebastian Chamber of Commerce
Joe Idlette III, Gifford Progressive Civic League                                 
Ruth Stanbridge, Indian River County Historical Society
Vicky Gould, Main Street Vero Beach
Linda Hillman, Original Town, Vero Beach 
Randy Old, Vero Man Ice Age Site
Sandra Rawls, Vero Man Ice Age Site
Bill Aufiero, Vero Man Ice Age Site
Rebecca Rickey, Heritage Center
Nick Schaus, Barrier Island liaison (IRNA)
Robert Schaedel, Architect
Judy and Jim Gallagher, Sebastian Property Owners Association
Carol Barry, Sebastian liaison (IRNA)
David Hunter, Barrier Island liaison (IRNA)
Mary Kiernan, Sebastian liaison (IRNA)
Claudia Jiminez (Karen Disney-Brombach) Indian River County School Board elected official
Jane Schnee, Friends of St. Sebastian River
Tom Gruber, Engineer
Buzz Herrmann, Friends of St. Sebastian River
Eric Flowers (Jeff Luther) Indian River County Sheriff's Department
Barbara Hoffman, Cultural Council
Sam Zimmerman, Indian River County Planning and Zoning Commission Chair
Bill Cannon, Canaveral Groves
John Debus, Treasure Coast Progressive Alliance
Sue Olson, Micco Homeowners Association
Chelle Woods, Micco Homeowners Association
Jan Black, Micco Homeowners Association
Maureen Rupe, Micco Homeowners Association               
Andrea Coy, Sebastian, City Council Member
Joe Griffin, Sebastian City Manager
Frank Watanabe, City of Sebastian
Cynthia Watson, City of Sebastian
Peter O'Bryan, Indian River County, County Commissioner
Dylan Reingold, Indian River County, County Attorney
Kate Cotner, Indian River County, Assistant County Attorney
Jay Kramer (Amelia Graves) Vero Beach, City Council Member
Jim O'Connor, Vero Beach City Manager
Monte Falls, City of Vero Beach
Dan Dexter, City of Vero Beach
Dan Lamson, Executive Director, Indian River Neighborhood Association
Honey Minuse, Indian River Neighborhood Association