Friday, May 12, 2017

Important topics at the last TCRPC meeting. And more befuddling public comment by Drew Martin.

Drew Martin was at the April meeting of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) trying to make the connection between trees and the opioid crisis. Not kidding. Read that public comment for yourself below.

The minutes are now available from the April 21st TCRPC meeting. To look those minutes over use this link to download. The next meeting is on May 19th at 9:30:
Location: Wolf High Technology Center, Indian River State College Chastain Campus, 2400 SE Salerno Road in Stuart.
Here are three very interesting items from the April meeting:
  • Resolution addressing the locally preferred option for the Loxahatchee River watershed restoration project, discussing “restoration of the Grassy Waters Preserve and enhancement of water supplies for local governments in Palm Beach County”.
  • Approval of Southeast Florida Transit Oriented Development pilot program grant application rankings and authorization to execute interlocal agreements. “Commissioner [Hal] Valeche asked for an explanation of the difference between the coastal link and the extension of Tri-Rail through this grant. Staff noted Tri-Rail operates on the CSX corridor, which is called the South Florida Rail Corridor and is owned by the State of Florida. In this corridor, Tri-Rail operates 18 stations within 72 miles, and exists for the most part west of I-95. Staff noted Tri-Rail Coastal Link is the project name for all the service that will occur on the FEC corridor.
  • U.S. Highway 27 Multi-Modal Corridor project update: “U.S. Highway 27 must be widened to accommodate future Intermodal Logistics Centers, potential rail demand is 15 to 22 trains per day, no fatal engineering or environmental flaws identified, and adding a railroad was determined to be feasible. Staff indicated the benefits of moving forward include: reducing freight traffic through the population centers between Fort Pierce and Miami; capacity will be freed up for commuter passenger trains; truck traffic will be diverted from U.S. Highway 27 and I-95; and this project will support economic development and job creation for the distressed communities along the south and east sides of Lake Okeechobee.”
Now for your enjoyment and/or befuddlement. . . an excerpt from Drew Martin’s public comment:

He [Martin] said at one point the county was going to buy the former Briger Tract, which is now called Alton, as a nature area. He indicated now everything has been removed and ponds were put in, which are being treated more as toxic waste sites than actual ponds. He noted even the historical site of Walden Pond has turned into a garbage dump. He stated he hopes Council will begin to change how the site plans are done so we stop cutting down and removing all the trees. He stated people will actually pay more to live next to trees, this is an economic issue as well as a health issue. He stated that although he cannot draw a direct connection to the opioid crises, he suspects we might have less opioid addiction if we protected more trees and people had something to look at to invigorate and help them.

“[W]e might have less opioid addiction if we protected more trees”