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City planners urge traffic impact study

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The Fredericksburg Planning Department is recommending a traffic impact analysis be conducted before the city acts on a request from Lincoln Terminal Co. to start a gas, biodiesel and ethanol facility near Mayfield.

Lincoln Terminal seeks to buy a 10.2-acre site off Dixon Street from Quarles Petroleum and convert it from a propane storage and distribution facility to one for its products.

Lincoln Terminal, a subsidiary of Lincoln Energy Solutions Inc., has applied for an amended special-use permit, which is currently before the city Planning Commission and is scheduled to be taken up again on Wednesday.

Commissioners heard a presentation on the proposal during a public hearing on Nov. 13 but delayed action to give time for residents of the Mayfield community to meet with Lincoln Terminal representatives.

They also had not received a required comprehensive safety assessment report from Lincoln Terminal Co. prior to the meeting

Former Mayor Lawrence Davies, who is acting president of the Mayfield Civic Association, said residents wanted assurances about safeguards being taken for the facility, plans for evacuation in case of a problem and the impact on traffic.

Larry Burgamy Jr., president of Greenville, S.C.-based Lincoln Energy Solutions, attended the Mayfield Civic Association meeting on Nov. 21 as did Ben Wafle of Quarles.

There, residents learned that Quarles is not ending its operation, simply moving it to property on the opposite side of Beulah Salisbury Drive, which puts it in Spotsylvania County.

Spotsylvania approved Quarles’ site plan on June 18.

Quarles plans to move where Service Tire Truck Center currently operates, a 2.47-acre site located at 3400 Beulah Salisbury Drive.

The 10.2-acre site Quarles plans to sell to Lincoln Terminal Co. is located at 1500 Beulah Salisbury Drive, which is directly across the street from Service Tire Truck Center.

Zoning Administrator Debra Mathis attended the Mayfield meeting and states in a memo to planning commissioners that the discovery of Quarles’ plans to move across the street raises questions about the amount of truck traffic on Beulah Salisbury and spilling onto Dixon Street.

“Understanding the demands placed on the city’s transportation network by development is an important dimension of assessing the overall impacts of development,” she said. “A traffic impact analysis should be performed in order to provide staff and the Planning Commission with the information needed to evaluate the traffic impact before this application moves forward to City Council.”

Mathis is recommending the commissioners leave open until Jan. 8 the public hearing on the matter that began on Nov. 13. That would allow time for a traffic impact analysis.

The commission meets on Wednesday and is scheduled to resume the public hearing and potentially act on the application.

Councilwoman Bea Paolucci, who represents the ward that includes Mayfield, also attended the community meeting and said she came away convinced there will not be an increase in truck traffic with the moves desired by Quarles and Lincoln Terminal and no traffic study is needed.

“I think, initially, it was a good suggestion,” Paolucci said on Friday. “At this point . . .I don’t think it’s necessary.”

She said traffic is an issue along Dixon Street but because it is within Spotsylvania’s boundaries at the Beulah Salisbury intersection, she sees little the city can do independently about any problems there.

She said she plans to meet with Spotsylvania Supervisor Gary Skinner in January to discuss traffic in that area.

Wafle and Burgamy told Mayfield residents they expect no net increase in traffic from the changes, and Davies said the community was satisfied with that information and the additional details provided during last month’s meeting. He added that he hoped the city’s recommendation for a traffic study was not initiated for Mayfield’s benefit.

Wafle also said the Quarles trucks avoid driving at peak times and primarily travel along State Route 3.

The Quarles and Lincoln sites are located along the Rappahannock River near Dixon Park, on the opposite side of Dixon Street from the Mayfield community.

Quarles’ operations currently see about 130 vehicle trips per day, according to the application. Lincoln expects 100 trucks per day but will operate around the clock.

Lincoln plans to invest $7 million to convert the Quarles site from a propane operation into one for storage and distribution of gasoline, biodiesel and ethanol.

Lincoln also plans to install six additional tanks for its products and to add landscaping to mitigate the industrial look of its site.

Lincoln’s products would be received via pipeline and truck and distributed via truck within 40 miles of the city, which should help stabilize retail pricing, the application states.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972

pgould@freelancestar.com

 

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