Proposed Markham Truck Rest Area Comments from the GCA 8-1-2016

A Proposed Truck Rest Area in Markham is a potential risk to the Goose Creek Watershed.

The Goose Creek Association recently sent comments to VDOT and other officials.

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“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot ….” — Joni Mitchell

Comments on the Proposed Markham Truck Rest Area

VDOT’s Truck Parking Study recommends expansion of existing facilities vs. construction of new facilities. VDOT Study at 6.

  • Fauquier Transportation Board Resolution supporting Markham truck rest area was issued 2.5 years before VDOT study published in July 2015, so it lacked information on overall needs, capacity and recommendations.
  • 2003 National Study found: “ a shortage in the number of available public truck parking spaces in Virginia and a surplus in private truck parking spaces; however a sufficient number of parking spaces were available during peak demands on the overall system.” VDOT Study at 11
  • Real-time parking information system for notifying truckers where spaces are available needs immediate development and is “most practical and cost–effective strategy. “ VDOT Study at 15
  • Illegal truck parking and I-66 corridor safety issues require current info on all (private and public) parking space availability nearby in Opal/Warrenton, Manassas/Centerville, Linden/Front Royal, specific safety statistics in the Manassas to Front Royal portion of I-66, as well as strict parking enforcement.
  • Markham truck rest area at taxpayer expense may be unnecessary, resulting in permanent loss for Markham and the Goose Creek with long term pollution, view degradation, property depreciation and other issues.
  • What’s the overall VDOT plan to meet demand? 20-30 spaces won’t begin to meet demand (-542) on I-66 that VDOT Study foresees

Creation of a new facility with >$500K requires federal/state environmental and historic resource review.

  • VDOT Study describes Markham Rest Area as a “New Facility,” page 18 and estimated costs are >$500,000.
  • Proposed Markham Rest Area purchased by eminent domain in the 70ies; closed for over 40 years and never operated for good reason: land doesn’t perk and lies within Goose Creek floodplain with standing water.
  • Other VDOT properties and private truck stops available and more appropriate.

Markham Truck Rest Area lies within historic districts

  • Markham is an historic, bucolic, agricultural area without commercial or industrial development.
  • Markham hosts two historic districts (Markham and John Marshall’s Leeds Manor Historic Districts) and many properties in conservation easement.
  • Truck rest area in Markham is wrong for Markham and Fauquier.

Fauquier County needs to complete aquifer study plus study of aquifer replenishment areas before committing to VDOT facility near vital sources of water.

  • Build it first, then study is backwards for Fauquier given its history of thoughtful development with conservation and historic preservation foremost.
  • Fauquier will lose its character if it loses its view sheds, historic resources and pristine waters.

Goose Creek Association is a public nonprofit with hundreds of members dedicated to protecting and preserving the natural resources, open spaces, historic heritage and rural quality of life within the Goose Creek watershed, part of the Potomac and Chesapeake watersheds. See www.goosecreek.org.

LETTER TO VDOT – August 1, 2016

Charles A. Kilpatrick, PE

Commissioner, VDOT

1401 E. Broad Street

Richmond, VA 23219

 

Mark Nesbit

VDOT Administrator, Warrenton Office

457 E. Shirley Ave.

Warrenton, VA 20186

August 1, 2016

RE: Goose Creek Association Comments on the Proposed Truck Rest Area in Markham

Dear Mr. Kilpatrick and Mr. Nesbit:

The Goose Creek Association (GCA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the above project proposal. Our organization is charged with monitoring stream water quality, proposed developments, legislation, zoning changes, and other actions that have potential impact on the environment and quality of life in the Goose Creek watershed in Fauquier and Loudoun Counties, VA.   We are a nonprofit 501C3 organization with hundreds of members who share a determination to protect and preserve the natural resources, historic heritage and rural quality of life found in this beautiful part of Virginia.

GCA is concerned about the proposed VDOT rest area for trucks off Interstate 66 near Exit 18 and Mile Markers 16-17 in Markham. Please include GCA as an interested party in any future communications about this important issue.  GCA also requests that any public meetings be held in the fall, not during summer vacations in August, to ensure full and fair discussion of the issues.

People come to and through Fauquier County as residents and tourists to leave the stress and urbanization of the DC metro area behind. Fauquier County is the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains with a pristine view-shed that must be preserved.  Driving west along I-66 there is a palpable “ahhh,” moment when Prince William County gives way to Fauquier County.  The scenery of plains and foothills to the Blue Ridge Mountains is magnificent, unimpeded by commercial development or detritus.  This view is essential to the rural, agricultural character of our county. While trucks may be a necessary element of our nation’s commerce, a truck rest area in Markham, or elsewhere along this corridor in Fauquier, would be totally inappropriate and out of character with our history, culture and rural quality of life.

There are existing truck stops in Manassas and Front Royal that could be expanded to accommodate truckers, with nearby motels, restaurants, and facilities attuned to their needs. As noted in VDOTS’ own report, page 8: VDOT should prioritize expansion of facilities versus construction of new ones.[i] [1]It would also be more economically efficient for VDOT to maintain expanded truck stops than to build a new rest area in the middle of an otherwise bucolic area whose peace and quietude would be destroyed.

Markham is a rural area known for its history as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall’s boyhood home, as well as the present day home of fruit orchards, Christmas tree farms, wineries and other rural, agricultural and residential endeavors. Currently, there is no industrial and limited commercial development potential in Markham or its surrounding area.  Notably, Markham is also near the headwaters of the Goose Creek, a State Scenic River, two historic districts (John Marshall’s Leeds Manor Rural Historic District and Markham Historic District) listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places, and many properties under conservation easement. These property owners did not put their land in easement foreseeing a truck rest area nearby that would impact negatively the view-shed and property values due to the inevitable pollution and crime issues.

Given that the proposed site is also in the floodplain of the Goose Creek, on land that may not perk, a truck rest area would endanger an essential source of drinking water, not only for Fauquier residents, but also those downstream in the Goose Creek, Potomac and Chesapeake watersheds. A truck rest area in remote Markham would create pollution from noise, lights, litter, exhaust, oil, other fluids, and smells from idling engines, drainage, and run-off. This would contribute to the further degradation of our drinking water necessary for humans and livestock at a time when the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has announced an endeavor to bring the Goose Creek’s TMDLs (total maximum daily loads) of pollution back to a standard acceptable for recreational activities.  A rest area in Markham would be a step backwards, not towards this goal.

GCA believes that environmental impact review[2] is necessary to assess the impact of any truck rest area near the Goose Creek or its tributaries and floodplains. Lacking a comprehensive understanding of our aquifers and their replenishment areas, Fauquier County and VDOT must not proceed with this ill-advised truck rest area in the floodplain of the Goose Creek in historic Markham.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

 

Lori Keenan McGuinness

Co-Chair, Fauquier County

Goose Creek Association

[1] VirginiaDOT.org/projects/resources/VirginiaTruckParkingStudy

[2] See VACODE 10.1-1188 et seq.

Cc: Honorable Jill Holtzman Vogel, VA State Senator

Honorable Michael Webert, VA State Delegate

Honorable Mary Lee McDaniel, Fauquier County Supervisor, Marshall DistrictScott Kasprowicz, Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board

Mark Peterson, Chairman, Goose Creek Senic River Advisory Committee

Christopher Miller, President, Piedmont Environmental Council

Kimberly Fogle, Director of Community Development, Fauquier County

May Sligh, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Heidi Moltz, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin

Jenny Biche, Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission

 

VDOT will be having a meeting for residents and other interested parties on August 31, 2016 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Location:  Marshall Community Center.

VDOT Meeting for Proposed Markham Truck Rest Area

 

08-27-16 Markham Petition (2)

08-16-16 Mary Leigh McDaniel re VDOT Truck Stop

 

 

Posted on August 3rd, 2016 in Featured, News

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