A traffic impact analysis (TIA) on Moore Road in Newport is adequate and thorough even if some of the area’s neighbors beg to differ, according to the Newport Planning Commission. The commission voted unanimously to endorse the TIA saying the analysis covered those specific areas that relate to the physical capability of Moore and Bay Roads to safely handle large logging trucks. Their unanimous finding was that the roads are robust enough to handle log truck traffic as they did back in the 1980’s and 90’s, after which log exports dropped off.
Commissioner Jim McIntyre commented that the neighbors who appealed the community development department director’s finding that the TIA was adequate should know that although the traffic counts were conducted in late December, when traffic volumes are lower, the count was artificially increased 28% to reflect a more credible number for higher traffic counts at other times of the year. McIntyre said he’s satisfied with the adjustment and favors denying the neighbors’ appeal.
Commissioner Glen Small said he agreed with Commissioner McIntyre’s conclusion. He emphasized that the TIA was very narrow in its scope, and rightly so, since it was to gauge the adequacy of Moore and Bay Roads to handle the increased log truck traffic, which the TIA stated they are. “Concerns about whether the U.S. should be shipping finished lumber products versus raw logs or whether Moore Road and Bay Boulevard should be used to get log trucks to the International Terminal were not germaine to the traffic analysis,” Small said.
Commissioner Rod Croteau said although he sympathizes with the neighbors’ concerns, the issue was the adequacy of the roadways, not whether they should be driven on by log trucks.
Commissioner Mark Fisher said the idea that the logs could be shipped by train out of Toledo to some other port is not pertinent to the traffic analysis. He echoed earlier comments about the TIA finding the roads as able to handle the log truck traffic.
Commissioner Branigan said he walked the entire length of the Highway 20 south turn onto Moore Road, east on Bay Road and south into the International Terminal log stacking area. He said he didn’t see anything that would question the findings of the TIA.
And Commission Chair Jim Patrick said although there were questions whether there were any geologic hazards along the way there are none because the log storage area is south of the Bay Road. Patrick said the fact that Moore and Bay Roads are not a designated truck route is only fitting because if they were designated truck routes, all trucks would have to use them and only them.
And with that, Commissioner Glen Small made the motion to uphold the community development director’s declaration of adequacy of the TIA, with Commissioner Bill Branigan seconding the motion. The vote was called resulting with a unanimous decision to uphold the TIA analysis.
The neighbors who appealed to the planning commission can appeal again to the city council. If the neighbors continue their opposition to the log export project using Moore and Bay Roads, they’ll have to file their appeal to the city council by the end of the business day, 5pm, May 28th.