Written by Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch
Company proposing controversial Wake quarry wants to build truck bridge over polluted creek; environmental advocates seek a public hearing
Wake Stone, the company behind a controversial quarry expansion next to Umstead State Park, has significantly changed its mining permit application to include a bridge over Crabtree Creek, a troubled tributary of the Neuse River.
The plan was included in a modified application that Wake Stone submitted to the NC Department of Environmental Quality on April 8.
According to the company, the bridge would be built over a portion of the creek that lies within the proposed new mining boundary. It would be used to truck “overburden” — clear-cut trees, soil and other unusable material — from the existing Wake Stone operation to a storage pit at the proposed mine, which has yet to be permitted.
In its application to DEQ’s Division of Energy, Mining and Land Resources (DEMLR), the company claims bridge construction and other mining activities won’t harm the creek “for the foreseeable future.”
The proposed 106-acre mine would be 300 feet deep and located on a parcel known as the Oddfellows Tract. Although technically Wake and Durham counties and Raleigh and Durham own the land, the Airport Authority manages it. In turn, the authority leased the land to Wake Stone, a move that opponents have challenged in court, albeit so far unsuccessfully.
Counting roads and office buildings, a total of more than 225 acres, including 59 acres of trees, would be affected by the mine’s expansion.
Continue reading the full article on NC Policy Watch.
Senator Nickel pledges to stand with local activists calling for a delay in granting Wake Stone Corporation a controversial mining permit for land neighboring William B. Umstead State Park until a public hearing can be held.
RALEIGH, NC – Senator Wiley Nickel, State Senator for the 16th Senate District (Cary, Morrisville & NW Raleigh), expresses concerns regarding Wake Stone Corporation’s application for a mining permit modification request, saying:
“Public hearings are an imperative part of permitting procedures. They allow the public a chance to react to plans for new development and raise awareness of potentially disastrous environmental or social impacts. On April 8, in the midst of an international public health crisis,
Wake Stone Corporation filed a mining permit modification request with the state Division of Energy, Minerals, and Land Resources (DEMLR). The Corporation’s target: a controversial forested area neighboring William B. Umstead State Park. If construction moves forward, this pristine forest would be transformed into the first private rock quarry on public land in North Carolina.
Local activists and organizations have been fighting to prevent this polluting pit for years.
Quarry opponents, ranging from local residents to environmental activists and mountain bikers,
have expressed grave concerns regarding potential environmental, economic, and public health impacts should quarrying efforts proceed as planned. These concerns deserve to be considered in a public forum.
I respectfully urge DEMLR to delay consideration of the mining permit until a safe, in-person public hearing can be held. The COVID-19 pandemic should not be used as a backdoor for corporations to destroy North Carolina’s natural wonders.”
Please attend this workshop at RDU on Thursday, February 13 from 5pm - 8pm to ask questions, provide feedback and help influence RDU's first Sustainability Management Plan.
The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority works with community leaders to grow responsibly, with respect for our natural resources and a desire to deliver a world-class airport experience. We have been diligent in environmental stewardship, often exceeding regulatory requirements. As our region thrives, we remain committed to responsible, sustainable growth that positively contributes to all aspects of our dynamic community — environmentally, socially and fiscally.
The Authority is developing RDU’s first Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) to improve the tracking and communication of the airport’s sustainability initiatives, increase efficiency, and better incorporate economic savings and environmental stewardship into project planning. The SMP will provide a road map for the integration of environmental sustainability into its planning, construction, maintenance, operations and design processes. RDU is engaging stakeholders throughout the process, identifying focus areas and conducting a baseline study to include energy usage; waste management and recycling; emissions inventory; water consumption; and community engagement, among others. The baseline will be used to develop sustainability goals for the airport.
The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority will hold a public workshop on the Sustainability Management Plan on February 13th from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. The workshop will be held in Room 100 of RDU Center at 1000 Trade Drive, RDU Airport, NC 27623. The Sustainability Management Plan process and the results of a baseline assessment will be discussed during the drop-in workshop. For questions about accessibility contact 919-840-7700, and if possible, make requests at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled workshop.
The 2020 “Photo Contest - Catch the Spirit of William B. Umstead State Park” Exhibit will feature photography of the Park, its structures and nature so get out your cameras, pick out your best shots and submit an entry to our contest. The submission deadline is May 24, 2020. Register now.
Photos must be taken in Umstead State Park to be eligible. Your photo can be taken at anytime, so you can take new photos or look through your treasure trove of past photos.
Entries are limited to one per category.
1. Where are Your Footprints?
People doing Park activities, or evidence of people doing Park activities
2. Stories in Stone
Remnants and structures of the Park history
3. In the Wild
Park flora and fauna
Youth are 16 years old and under. Youth will have the same categories as adults, but will be judged together rather than by category.
First, Second and Honorable Mention winners will receive the following:
Catch the Spirit of Umstead State Park Exhibit
Winners are encouraged to attend the exhibit reception, which is open to the public. The reception will take place in June 27, 2020 from 2pm - 4pm in the Umstead State Park Visitor’s Center, 8801 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27617.
Registration is available now. The deadline for submissions is May 24, 2020.
The goal of our annual illustration contest is to showcase some of the wonders of Umstead State Park using graphic illustrations. Winning illustrations will be featured on displays at the Park Visitor Center, commemorative t-shirts and similar items to support our Park. Register now.
Illustrations (drawings) featuring or inspired by plants, animals, landscape or historic features within Umstead State Park will be accepted. Please submit your graphic illustration as an Illustrator file compatible with CS5, but we will accept EPS, JPG, TIP or Photoshop.
Multiple winners are possible. Winning entries will receive:
Winners are encouraged to attend the exhibit reception, which is open to the public. The reception will take place on June 27, 2020 from 2pm - 4pm in the Umstead State Park Visitor’s Center, 8801 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27617.
February 3, 2020
Mr. Greg Ford, ChairmanWake County Board of CommissionersRE: RDUAA/Umstead State Park/Lake Crabtree County Park
Dear Chairman Ford,
On Monday, January 27, 2020, your Wake County Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee (OSAPAC) met for our regularly scheduled monthly meeting. As a part of our agenda, we continued our broad discussion of the Raleigh Durham Airport Authority (RDUAA) properties related to Umstead State Park and Lake Crabtree County Park and considered our role in the stewardship of the county’s parks. You will recall that in a letter to the Board of Commissioners in 2016, OSAPAC recommended the County support the idea of the development of an Urban Trail Center on specific parcels owned by RDUAA and a portion of Umstead State Park north of I-40. This endeavor was, and continues to be thought of, as potentially a great benefit for the RDUAA and the entire region.
Since that time in 2016, a lot has transpired related to the properties. OSAPAC continues to support the recommendations in our 2016 letter. However, it will take a concerted effort by all the interested parties to work together towards a viable solution that will meet the needs of RDUAA while protecting Umstead State Park and Lake Crabtree County Park. We reaffirm OSAPAC’s concerns and continue to encourage the County to continue to take an active role in facilitating a collaborative, cooperative and mutually beneficial solution that retains the land’s most important environmental resources and allows public access for compatible outdoor recreation. OSAPAC is happy to assist in whatever manner the Board of Commissioners finds most helpful to bring together or help facilitate a process that can benefit all parties.
Robert C. Hinson, Chair
Wake County Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee
Wake County CommissionersWake County Open Space & Parks Advisory Committee MembersDavid Ellis, Wake County ManagerJohnna Rogers, Deputy Wake County ManagerScott Warren, Wake County AttorneyDenise Hogan, Clerk to the Board of CommissionersFrank Cope, Wake County Community Services Director
Read a PDF of the letter here.
At today's special RDUAA Board meeting, potential "Terminal I Expansion" was presented. RDUAA staff said they would study further, but anticipated coming back to the Board around April to ask proceed to move forward to expand T1 to accommodate more gates (than planned in the Vision 2040 Plan).
The current Vision 2040 Airport Layout Plan (ALP) calls for a 4-gate expansion at T1 (the terminal on the east side closest to Umstead State Park) and 19 more gates at T2 (terminal on the west side). And, consideration of lengthening the eastern runway closest to Umstead State Park only AFTER relocation of the western runway (and then, perhaps not at al).
FYI, the planned 4 additional gates at T1 are being constructed and plan to open by around April of this year. That will enable some gates to open up at T2.
RDU's presentation on January 27, 2020 suggested that a MAJOR change be considered to ADD ADDITIONAL 9 to 16 or more gates to T1. Essentially this would mean that ALL the number of planned additional gates in the Vision 2040 plan be pushed to T1 ! (with concurrent terminal sq-footage expansion).
The RDU Staff shared three driving factors that they think merit this major change in the ALP:
1) Enplanements (the number of passengers getting on planes) is exceeding the forecast estimates. However, the planes are getting larger, carrying more passengers per plane, as well as other factors, so they are estimating the needed gates through modeling. FYI, the time of day that requires the most gates is mid-afternoon. (the maximum flights are early morning, but the planes have 'slept' at RDU and don't take much gate occupancy time).
2) T2 gate increase would not occur until about 8 years (5 years to relocate runway to the west, and another 2 to 3 for gate expansion).
3) While gate expansion occurs in T2, it will take away useful gates during construction (the gate expansion can be phased which will minimize, but not eliminate this problem)
I have MAJOR concerns with this proposal because it would push much MORE aircraft traffic on the east side closest to Umstead State Park. It may also encourage an unnecessary lengthening of the runway closest to Umstead State Park. I believe this massive number of gate expansion of T1 before T2 is expanded (8 years will be here pretty soon) should be severely limited as per the current ALP. Note, the ALP was recently "Conditionally approved" by FAA in the spring of 2018. There are ways to make gate usage more efficient, and to the credit of RDUAA, they are implementing some of them.
The RDUAA staff told their Board today that they will continue to talk with the airlines, run models, and evaluate their options. I urge RDUAA to evaluate options that prioritize LIMITING the number of gate expansion in the Terminal closest to Umstead State Park. Thanks to David Morgan who requested outreach to the public during this evaluation process.
Written by Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair, The Umstead Coalition
Read the News & Observer coverage here:
January 24, 2020: Memorandum sent to the RDU Airport Authority (RDUAA)
From: Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair, The Umstead Coalition
At 3:26pm on Thursday, January 23, 2020 a “Notice of Special Meeting of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Board on January 27, 2020” (at 1pm) was emailed to those who had requested such notices.
The first stated purpose for this special meeting is: “to consider the Terminal 1 Expansion Program.”
This “expansion” is likely going to be a staff request to for SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES to the Aeronautical Component(s) of the Vision 2040 Plan ALP (Airport Layout Plan). In particular, adding a substantial increase in the number of new gates and larger expansion of Terminal 1 than promised under the Vision 2040 public plan. In addition, potentially moving forward with lengthening the eastern runway.
These actions, if approved, would SUBSTANTIALLY increase air traffic impacts to William B. Umstead State Park. The result would be substantial negative impacts to Umstead State Park.
The current Vision 2040 calls for all but five (5) of the new gates at RDU to be on the WEST side of the airport, and the replacement (and longer runway) to the west to be built BEFORE any lengthening of the runway near Umstead State Park be considered. Those were the public commitments made under Vision 2040.
In addition, adding substantially more gates with Terminal 1 expansion (near Umstead State park) than included in the Vision 2040 Plan would be in direct CONFLICT with the recent key recommendation from the RDU Airport Infrastructure Development (AID) Task Force, Regional Transportation Alliance that recommends terminal expansion on the WEST side of the airport, away from Umstead State Park (http://letsgetmoving.org/RDUAID), specifically, the RDU Task Force recommendation sates:
“Consider creation of a new “terminal 3” – north of terminal 2, away from Umstead State Park”
Please consider your RDU Task Force recommendation, solicit public input, then consider alternatives first - prior to considering such major changes in Vision 2040 ALP that would increase the detrimental impacts on William B. Umstead State Park, a Park since 1934 and a 4(f) property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Download a PDF of the email here.
This is major change to the Vision 2040 Master plan. All without public input, the RDUAA want to: dramatically increase the number gates and terminal size on the east, Umstead State Park side, and move forward first to lengthening of the eastern runway.
Please attend this meeting on Monday, January 27, 2020 at 1pm.
The Regional Transportation Alliance RDU Airport Infrastructure Development (AID) Task Force released its preliminary findings on January 17, 2020. Their main point was to recommend a total revamp of RDU's land use plan - with appreciation to Umstead State Park!
Here are their Airport Land Use Recommendations
Written by Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch - January 16, 2020
The RDU Airport Authority today delayed a vote on an 8-foot high, 8.3-mile fence that would cut through parts of Umstead Park, after meeting with state parks officials who have serious reservations about the project.
The Authority has proposed building the security fence, which would be topped with three rows of barbed wire.
It would abut parts of the Reedy Creek Multi-Use Trail, bisecting it in two places. The trail is used by tens of thousands of hikers, cyclists and equestrians every year. The fence’s purpose is to keep trespassers off airport property, which intersects with the park.
Bill Sandifer, the Authority’s chief operating officer, told the board that the airport would be seeking a “compromise” to the fence.
“There’s more conversation to be had,” Sandifer said. “We’re taking a short pause. But the fence isn’t going away. We have needs on that side of the airport.”
Continue reading the article at NC Policy Watch.
The Umstead Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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