Column – Tired of trucks

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2023

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To the editor:

After months of tractor-trailer cabs, primarily servicing the Amazon facility parking illegally in the Northgate Commerce Park, the City finally addressed the situation for one day. Yes, one day! After months of requests to the City to do something, it took a City Council Work Session Meeting on Oct. 18, 2023, to get some action. On the morning of Oct. 19, the trucks were gone. On the morning of Oct. 20, the trucks were back.

Once we saw the trucks had gone, my wife and I, active members of Keep Suffolk Beautiful, went over to clean up the trash that had accumulated over this time and found bags of food trash, plastic bottles with urine, engine oil containers, blankets, rugs, broken mud flaps, and even a mattress strewed all over Maya Way right in front of the new Tractor Supply. The trash and smell was overwhelming. The weeds are so high on City property you can’t even see over them. There are no less than six NO PARKING signs all over the cul-de-sac. Still, truckers ignore them because no one enforces the municipal ordinance, which is clearly noted on the signs, the same as the trucks traveling up and down Shoulders Hill Road with a no-through truck prohibition.

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This is just one example of the multiple issues these distribution centers have brought to Suffolk over the last few years. The City has been slow to address any of these. Yes, there are benefits to having warehouses in our City when they are properly cited and regulated, but neither has been the case to date. Did you know that a developer could put a warehouse within 30 feet of Florence Bowser Elementary School tomorrow with no public or City Council input? Those upper-end residential units in Harbourview? Under attack!

Citizens Voice, a local nonprofit dedicated to addressing the concerns of Suffolk citizens as they pertain to land use issues, has been addressing citizens concerns regarding the improper siting of warehouses within the City for months. We have provided the City with documented and referenced evidence from subject matter experts, state governments, industry representatives, researchers, scholars, and more on the negative impacts of noise, diesel emissions, property values, and more that these “warehouses” have on our citizens. The City’s current proposal to establish an ordinance that would provide specific guidelines to regulate “warehouses” is long overdue, but after a thorough analysis and consultation with independent third-party subject matter experts, Citizens Voice believes it lacks standards that would protect our citizens from these negative impacts. 

Thomas Rein

President Citizens Voice