Current photo of the Port of New Orleans-- Do you want this in your back yard in Meraux?
The Sinclair Site includes the large section of land from the Mississippi River to the 40 Arpent Canal between Maureen Lane, parts of St. Marie Drive, Olivia Street, and the Meraux Shopping Center.
This will encompass and effect all of the city of Meruax and parts of Violet, with the Docville tract and Valero Refinery being the boundaries. This includes Deer Creek, Francis Place, Landry Court, Story Park, Maureen Lane and surrounding areas, the Trist school area, Pecan Grove, Lexington Place, Cypress Gardens, Jumonville North and South, Judy Drive and surronding areas, Emilie Oaks, and Bartolo Drive to Mary Ann Drive. All of these neighborhoods are in the standard 1.25 mile area of effect.
The Northern side of Chalmette will be effected by the proposed 40 arpent expressway.
Besides the obvious issues of traffic, noise, general pollution, obstruction of view, and unsightliness, industrial sites have a documented negative effect on property value. Within the first 1/8 to 1/4 mile, property values can decrease as much as 14%. Why? Because you are now selling a property with a disamenity. A disamenity historically has the expected effect of the opposite of an amenity. Simply put, people are willing to pay more for areas with amenities and less for areas with disamenities.
La 46, more commonly known as St. Bernard Highway, is proposed to be shut down from Trist Middle School to Maureen Lane, in the original presentation done in December 2017. This is partially the elimination of a Louisiana recognized scenic byway. In fact, it is listed as one of the attractions on the Visit St. Bernard web page.
These areas include: Joseph Davies Elementary School-St Bernard Parish's premiere elementary school that is approximately 1/4 mile from the proposed site. Trist Middle School, including its new edition, is even closer. The Historic Docville, ironically owned by the same "foundation" that is in coordination of this proposed container site, would no longer have direct access via the above mentioned historic by way.
With a container yard of this magnitude, additional railroads and road access will be needed. The proposed plan includes additional rail usage and an elevated expressway from Paris Road to Maureen Lane and possibily further areas. This now effects most of Chalmette east of Paris Road. It could also have other effects on St. Bernard all the way through Old Arabi via a massive increase in rail usage. A simple google search will list a large number of negative effects of new rail and of elevated expressways.
Another concern of the proposed elevated expressway is that it will be solely used for keeping 18-wheeler traffic off of Judge Perez Dr. That seems like a massive misuse of tax dollars if doesn't have any other usefulness for our residents. On the contrary, if it did have a way to serve the residents, it would create even more issues that are not even being addressed here.
A third concern would be increased use of the existing rail line along LA 46 or St. Bernard Highway. Increase traffic on the rail line would block access to homes and create a larger disturbance to the above mentioned homes. It could block access of our first responders to the refineries, access to our jail, access to the Chalmette ferry and block our ability to get out of St Bernard via more blockages by train on St Bernard Highway and Judge Perez in Arabi.
If a new rail line is created along the 40 Arpent corridor, we are now looking at effecting the entire north side of St Bernard Parish from Maureen Lane to New Orleans. They will have rail noise and pollution to a level we can't predict. This would also pass right by the new constructed Arlene Meraux Elementary school creating a disturbance for our youth.
A fourth concern would be the effects of increase traffic on Paris Road. This would be a massive increase in traffic of the 18 wheeler variety on a 4 lane barely divided highway. Safety could take a major step backwards here. Its ability to handle more traffic would be limited by the size of the "Green Bridge".
From the Deep Water Horizon to Hurricane Katrina, St Bernard is familiar with disaster. On the industrialized side of this, we saw the damage caused by Murphy Oil when one of its tanks floated off its foundation and contaminated a large section of Chalmette. While we all hope we never have to live through an event like that again, it is still a possibility. Sea containers are known to float for weeks, even longer depending on what type. At a weight of approximately 5000lbs for a 20 foot and just under 9000lbs for a 40 foot the risk of damage and destruction by that floating around in flood waters is significant.
This is an example of what a disaminity does as well. Back when Murphy oil was being built, there was no housing around it. People moved closer and closer because the land was cheap. Why? Because the land was devalued because of the LULU or disamintiy.
Now they do have a hurricane mitigation plan, to stack them 2 high so they don't blow over. The risk of flooding is low, but we are obviously prone to it, and when we do it is catastrophic. Sure its a 100 year storm, but to say it can't happen again, is nonsense. We can ask our neighbors in Plaquimines Parish how often a 100 year flood can occur unfortunately.
Local Undesirable Land Usages (LULU's) are what planning is supposed to eliminate, not create. Appraisers do take them in to consideration when appraising your land and an industrial site in your back yard would certainly be considered one. Outside of Meraux, the Florida Ave. expressway and an elevated rail way would be considered one as well. Anything that generates an assault on the human senses must be considered. Containers stacked 6 stories high and 18 wheeler and train traffic will certainly be categorized as one. So this projects original presentation will effect much more than just Meraux! The north side of Chalmette will also be effected as well. Has anyone drive down Florida Ave from Jacob to Palmasino Blvd? There's lots of new construction of beautiful homes that face the marsh land, and I am sure they don't want to look at 18 wheelers and trains passing by their front doors.
Again, if they don't plan on the expressway, the usage of our existing rail and road ways will then effect the entire parish. Our historic district in old Arabi will be effected as well.
NOTE: They have admitted that our existing transportation system is not enough. They have not, at this point, offered a solution officially, however the Florida Ave expressway was mentioned by the Port of St. Bernard's representative.
A study was conducted by the University of Amsterdam and the Tinbergen Institute on the effects of an Industrial site on residential property values. It states that an industrial site has a 1.25 mile area of effect on property value. Why would they do this? Because Amsterdam is surrounded by water and people and industry love being by water. However, when they are in close proximity, bad things happen to the residential side.
The port likes to mention Hobcaw Creek neighborhood and its proximity to the Wando terminal in Charleston. This is not a fair comparison. They have amenities to trade off that we do not. We don't have a neighborhood in the upper parts of St. Bernard with water front access, nor do we have a yacht club, or a golf course, or a pontoon boat landing strip to create an abundance of amenities to compensate for one major disamenity that is not as close as this port would be to all of us. The reality is the industrial sites, elevated expressways, and rail all hurt our property value. We need look no further than New Orleans to see the study being conducted on the plausibility of taking down the elevated section of I-10 that destroyed all the communities around it.
While it might not be a deal breaker, the fact that the river boat pilots have any reservations of docking a ship in this location is a red flag to me. It is physically the narrowest part of the river around and is in a turn.
NOTE: This is the stage the port's study is currently in and is due in roughly 45 days as of Febuary 21st 2018. They said in the town hall meeting that this could take longer. We will know more soon.
First, the Port of New Orleans is a state agency and thus tax except. They admitted the bulk of their employee's will be union. The jobs will come from the business that operate in the container yard, of which they have ZERO commitments. Now I am sure it will produce some tax base for St Bernard, but how much and at what cost. I have already mentioned that according to a recent study the area of effect is about 1.25 miles and that covers all of Meraux alone much less the effects of the expressways and rail.
Also, the proposed business park that could possibly produce revenue for St. Bernard is now said to be part of phase 2. So it may never happen. However, we are just supposed to believe that after the billions they claim will be spent on the container yard, they will build the business park.
While I am all for the growth of St. Bernard, it has to be "smart" for all. I would not be opposed to a container yard if it was in a correct location, mainly an existing industrial corridor, and didn't negatively effect the residents of St Bernard.
The history of planning is long standing. In fact, the Romans in 50 B.C. attempted to move all the industrial zones from residential areas and here we are about to repeat the errors of the past.
A few questions that need to be answered and some personal thoughts:
1) What is the history of zoning on this land? The Meraux foundation said they applied for rezoning about a year and half ago and it was granted. When and by who? Were the proper channels and procedures followed? Was there public notice? I don't recall any of this.
2) Your elected officials are here to represent you. If they do not, the polls are where you express your disapproval. Ask your elected officials if they are for or against this. Mr. Ray Garofalo is very much for it.
3) Some interesting reading and there are many more like this...... how long before this is right smack dab in the heart of St. Bernard.
4) With the super port at the mouth of the river being planned, what will the feasibility of this new port be? If all the container ships are docked at the mouth of the river and the containers transported out of there, why would we need this? Would this become another empty port like the one in Violet, where it appears nothing is ever happening.
5) Get out there if you value St. Bernard's unique way of life. Public opposition may be the only answer.
6) The ports presentation on this has seems to be scaled down with every presentation. When I talk of elevated rail and roads, it was in their original presentation and they have said our existing infrastructure is not up to par for them.
7) I will update this as information is available.
8) I can be contacted at email@example.com
9) If I am wrong on any of this information please don't hesitate to prove me wrong. I did very little research to find most of this information and believe it makes a strong case against the container yard at this site.