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Resident asks for railroad ordinance

Staff writer

Robert Crawford has had enough of running railroad engines and tanker cars full of hazardous chemicals parked on the tracks just yards from his house.

The Marion man spoke to city council members about it Monday, asking for a city ordinance to be passed.

“We are asking that the city of Marion impose a 72 hour limit on parking and leaving a setting diesel engine to run and at the end of 72 hours move it elsewhere,” Crawford said.

Crawford said a tanker car holding 33,000 gallons of flammable chemicals would burn a long time if it caught fire, and should not be permitted to be parked in a residential area.

He said over the holidays, rail cars containing hazardous gases were parked on a side rail near his house for five and a half weeks.

Crawford said there are residences, businesses, and churches in the area where they were parked. He said he spoke to a fire chief who told him it one of the cars erupted, the fire department would have to call in help from a large area to assist.

“What I’m asking today is that we have an ordinance that bans parking railroad cars containing hazardous materials,” Crawford said.

In other business, planning and zoning administrator Clayton Garnica asked the council to hire attorney Brad Jantz, who works as county counsel, to work with the planning and zoning commission on a review of the commission’s Verizon Wireless application and decisions that have been made to date regarding it. So far, city attorney Susan Robson has provided legal advice on Verizon’s application.

Verizon’s original application to construct a cell phone tower on S. Commercial St. drew controversy early on from people who believed exposure to cell phone signals pose health hazards. Even the Marion school district expressed objection after Verizon proposed placing an antenna on the old water tower near the high school instead of the original location.

Margo Yates, chairman of the planning and zoning board, spoke in favor of hiring Jantz.

“With everything we’ve been through on this, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a disconnect from the city on this,” Yates said.

Council members voted unanimously to hire Jantz.

Jantz will meet with the planning and zoning commission Tuesday evening.

City council will hold a work session from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday to set goals for the city.

Topics including parks and recreation, industrial park, aging infrastructure, and downtown development will be addressed. The council will not make firm decisions on any of the issues.

Last modified Feb. 13, 2020

 

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