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Urgent Update to previous posting on the subject of fugitive coal dust from the Norfolk Southern terminal.  As the issue had been presented as an item of immediate interest (tomorrow), I failed to verify the facts about when the City Council will be discussing this issue.

Here is the results of my fact-finding:
The earlier posting included the following (I have included letter labels for easy reference; A., B. C. …):
A. Tommy Smiegel has a resolution before City Council requesting Council action for action with Norfolk Southern to lessen the community’s exposure to coal dust, with coal car covers being a tangible solution to this problem.
B. This item will be heard at the April 28th City Council meeting.  Please see below:
C. Sure enough, there’s “an abundance” of coal in that dust, according to the lab. You can see the test results (and read the actual test reports) here:http://coaldustnorfolk.com/CoalDustTesti… — lots of interesting micrographs and gas chromatograms for the scientifically inclined to peruse.

So what’s next?

D. There will a Norfolk City Council meeting next Tuesday, April 28th at 7PM at City Hall. …

E. The matter of the coal dust is going to be discussed, and…

F. a representative from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will be present.

G.  ANY citizen of Norfolk can speak for 3 minutes at this meeting.

Subsequent to this, I received a link to Tommy Smiegel’s resolution to City Council, reproduced here:
As you will note (fyi, that’s my title of the document) this is the resolution from June of last year.  I have checked the City Council’s meeting agenda for tomorrow, and based on that, and confirmed with someone in the City Manager’s office, the only item that is certain is F, a representative from the Virginia DEQ will presenting, BUT only during the CC’s informal work session starting @ 4:30 p.m. — prior to the formal session at 7:00 p.m.
So, based on my research, I would say that — referencing the labeled statements above:
F. is true, but only for the informal work session.  It is not certain that the DEQ representative will be discussing this issue, or this issue only.
A. is true but only in the past tense, unless that resolution was killed outright.  It is certainly out-of-date.
C. is an assertion, based on the testing discussed.
D. & G. are true in a general sense, but the “fugitive coal dust” issue is not on the formal session agenda and therefore cannot be debated by the Council without proper public notice. In other words;
B. is false, This item will NOT be heard at the April 28th City Council (formal) meeting.
I am not completely familiar with the CC’s rules of public admittance to the informal work sessions, but it is not held in the large Council chamber, so space is limited.   Generally, members of the public may only speak if requested by the Council.
My apologies.
Dave Zellmer

from Paige Rose:

__________________________________

Greetings,

Just wanted to share an important development for those concerned about coal dust and its impact on Ghent…..with an online petition and  matter to be heard by City Council on April 28th:
_____________________________________________________________________
As many know, Norfolk Southern’s coal terminal is located very close to our GNL boundaries.  For years, adjacent neighborhoods, including Ghent, have had exposure to black coal dust matter in the air we breathe as well as on cars, clothing, window sills,etc. A growing citizen concern has evolved into a citizen action group.
This citizen action group, in concert with the Sierra club, initiated neighborhood air quality tests which indicated up to 70% of particulates found are “fugitive coal dust” (a term used to identify escaped coal dust matter), with a link to the report included below.
Currently, Norfolk Southern uses a “water spray” to mitigate fugitive coal dust as the cars are emptied at the Norfolk Souther terminal.  While this helps lessen the issue,  coal car covers are truly needed to address the root cause of fugitive coal dust.
Tommy Smiegel has a resolution before City Council requesting Council action for action with Norfolk Southern to lessen the community’s exposure to coal dust, with coal car covers being a tangible solution to this problem.
This item will be heard at the April 28th City Council meeting.  Please see below:

Sure enough, there’s “an abundance” of coal in that dust, according to the lab. You can see the test results (and read the actual test reports) here:http://coaldustnorfolk.com/CoalDustTesti… — lots of interesting micrographs and gas chromatograms for the scientifically inclined to peruse.

So what’s next?

There will a Norfolk City Council meeting next Tuesday, April 28th at 7PM at City Hall. The matter of the coal dust is going to be discussed, and a representative from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will be present. ANY citizen of Norfolk can speak for 3 minutes at this meeting.

Additional, earlier, information from a Virginian-Pilot from 27 June 2014 is here:
There is also  robust discussion occurring now on Next Door and an online petition to sign, if interested:  http://tinyurl.com/less-coal-dust

FYI, attached please find a copy of the notice from the City’s Dept. of Utilities which was shown at the March GNL meeting when Leticia Quejada provided an update to us on the project.

As an update, today Leticia writes

Just an update for the project, the contractor is currently working on their permits and other administrative requirements.  Actual breaking of the ground may happen in May.

Project Bulletin – Mowbray Arch Phase 2 – 2.2015

Earlier this month I posted a notice about the second step in the Norfolk Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Project.  A series of meetings were held earlier this month where the consultants presented an overview of their efforts so far and solicited comments.

Please note that there is still a window of opportunity for you to submit any concerns or comments that you may have: about the proposed zoning ordinance re-write, re-write process, et al.   Even if you have not had the chance to review the consultants recent work, if you have a concern about the current state of zoning, land use, planning processes, specific land uses issues, etc. that you want to be sure are addressed in the re-write process — NOW IS THE TIME TO REGISTER YOUR CONCERN. As pointed out at our monthly meeting last week, all comments will/should be recorded by the consultant team, reviewed and responded to as the process moves forward.  The window for comment submission will be closing soon however.

from the earlier post, fyi:

_________________

The attached two-page Zoning Ordinance Assessment brochure identifies the major themes which guided the team’s assessment efforts.  Norfolk VA Zoning Ordinance Assessment Brochure

The Zoning Ordinance Assessment — all 187 pages — is available here  http://www.zonenorfolk.com  along with other information about the process and info on other ways to get involved.  Note that if you cannot attend, or if you have comments latter, a questionnaire is available on the website to use to submit inputs.

Upcoming GNL Meeting agenda available here:  GNL April 16th 2015 Agenda, draft v1

 

DRAFT AGENDA

GHENT NEIGHBORHOOD LEAGUE

APRIL 16th 2015

CHRYSLER MUSEUM OF ART

“Advocates for the conservation and promotion of the Historic Character of Ghent”

6:30 PM:        Call to Order

Introductions of Board Members, Neighbors and Guests

PROGRAM

Approval of Minutes

Crime Report: Officer Jacob Medley, Community Resource Officer, Norfolk Police Department

GNL Board Reports

  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Ghent Task Force
  • Ghent Business Association
  • Ghent Homeless Task Force
  • Nominations Committee
  • Review Committee

Guests with Business before the Board

  • Bottle Box application for 21st street
  • Susanne Ott

Ghent Applications to City of Norfolk

Committee Business

Committee Chair Reports

  • Community Improvement – Paige Rose/Susanne Ott/Karen Reynes
  • Membership ———————-Ben Crumpler/Michael Spencer
  • Communications —————-David Zellmer
  • Program —————————Sharon Plawin/John Ryan
  • Publicity and Social Events – John Ryan/Emily Birknes
  • Sector Representatives ——-BarBara Murphy/Michael Spencer
  • Zoning ——————————- David Zellmer/Joan McEnery

Committee Presentations/Project Updates

  • Zoning Committee:

ADJOURNMENT

Upcoming Meetings:

May Review Cmte Meeting May____@ 9:30am @ Panera Bread

GNL Monthly Meeting – May 21@ 6:30pm @ Chrysler Museum