Neighbors oppose Delmar truck weigh station expansion

Residents of the Leonard Mill Pond area are opposed to the possible expansion of the truck weigh station – a proposal that was also met with adamant objection in the 1980s.

Members of the Leonard’s Mill Pond Collaborative will be at a May 11 State Highway Administration gathering, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Delmar Elementary School, where the expansion will be discussed.

Phillip LeBel, volunteer coordinator for the collaborative, wrote a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan, outlining reasons the weigh station should not be expanded in the present location, and also asked Ernie Colburn, director of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, and Chamber members, to attend.

In August 1988, after strong protests to expand, it was decided to put the plan on hold indefinitely, he said.

In the letter to Hogan, LeBel stated the area was mostly farm and woodland when the weigh station was first established years ago, but that there has been much growth and development since.

He asked that any expansion be farther north since there are now five neighborhood associations — Chestnut Hill, Pine Knoll  I, Pine Knoll 2, Danwood and Holly Estates – bordering Leonard’s Mill Pond.

“Waterfront residents alone already account for at least 100 individuals, while adjacent properties that benefit from the Leonard’s Mill Pond amount to several hundred,” he wrote.

He thanked the governor for work on the state’s “transportation infrastructure” and said capital improvements are “much appreciated by residents of the region in general, and on those businesses that depend on an effective transportation infrastructure in support of regional commerce.”

However, he said, the proposed expansion of the weigh station “marks a major departure from the present size of the U.S. 13 Delmar station.”

“Instead of the present footprints on the northbound and southbound sides of Route 13, this project looks to the creation of a major truck park that will have a substantial impact on the residential neighborhoods that now surround the present station sites,” he wrote

He told the Salisbury Independent those concerned don’t want more noise and additional trucks that would “probably accelerate at a faster rate.”

Enlarging the weigh station would carve out forested area on north side of the Chestnut Hill neighborhood, exposing the pond to run-off, he said.

“If you look at the pitch of the land on the north and south sides, it’s angled so run off will go into Leonard’s Mill Pond. There would be more run-off of a chemical nature,” he said.

Also in the letter to Hogan, LeBel worried that noise and environmental emissions from a larger weigh station will lower property values on both sides of Route 13 and increase environmental risks to the Chesapeake Bay watershed area bounded by Leonard’s Mill Pond, Johnson’s Lake, and the Wicomico River.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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