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LKN Marine Commission postpones toll lane application

LKN Marine Commission

July 12. By Dave Vieser. The Lake Norman Marine Commission last night tabled an application from the NCDOT regarding the I-77 toll lane project.

“We’ve requested additional information and clarification from the DOT on this project,” said Executive Director Ron Shoultz.  His motion was approved unanimously, meaning the next time the issue could come up on the commissions’ regular meeting schedule would be Monday August 8.

The marine commission is reviewing the DOT’s proposal because the interstate crosses Lake Norman north of Exit 28. The LNMC works with Duke Power on lake development as part of  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license requirements.

Prior to the motion to table, two residents spoke out about the project.

“Before folks get their hopes up or rages on commission members, everyone needs to understand the Marine Commission is not a decision-making body in this matter. I believe it can only make recommendations, and to my knowledge they are not binding. Albeit they have several serious concerns. Therefore, the Marine Commission does not have within its’ authority the ability to stop the managed lanes project on I-77,”

– NC Sen Jeff Tarte

Ron Vanderbilt of Huntersville expressed concern about the added lanes crossing the causeway between Exits 28 and 31. He asked if the structure can “handle the added asphalt and traffic volume” and if they have been tested for “added volume.”

“I really am concerned about the integrity of the causeway section,” he said.

Real estate agent Kathy Chenette questioned whether enough attention has been paid to watershed requirements in the region. Commission members said they would look into the comments raised by the speakers.

The tabling of the measure pushes back the progress of at least part of the toll lane project by another month. The DOT had originally asked to be on the commission’s June 13 meeting agenda. However, commission procedures normally require a minimum of 30 days’ notice for an item to be placed on a meeting agenda, and the DOT missed that deadline.

Whether this amounts to a brief pause in the DOT’s high-speed race to toll I-77 or a real roadblock is anyone’s guess. According to spokeswoman Duke Energy spokeswoman Kim Crawford, the utility requires applicants to resolve comments they receive on draft conveyance applications or to demonstrate an agency was given at least 45 days to provide comments.

“Resolve comments” means the applicant must address in its application the specific concerns the agency has, within the agency’s regulatory jurisdiction, with respect to the activity and its effect on the environmental, recreational, aesthetic, or cultural resources of the hydroelectric project (i.e., the reservoir).  Typically, Duke Energy will not process an application until the applicant has demonstrated it has revised its plan to address the agency’s concerns.

“If the Lake Norman Marine Commission ultimately objects, we would have to evaluate the specific objections the commission identifies with the proposed activity before we can assess whether our review can move forward,” added Crawford.

According to Crawford, there is no set time frame for all of this to unfold. It depends on the complexity of the application request.  “We do tell applicants to expect at least 30 days for us to process an application” she added.

TARTE

TARTE

NC Sen. Jeff Tarte, a former mayor of Cornelius, said the Lake Norman Marine Commission may be just a speed bump.

“Before folks get their hopes up or rages on commission members, everyone needs to understand the Marine Commission is not a decision-making body in this matter. I believe it can only make recommendations, and to my knowledge they are not binding. Albeit they have several serious concerns. Therefore, the Marine Commission does not have within its’ authority the ability to stop the managed lanes project on I-77,” Tarte said in a post on Facebook’s Exit 28 Ridiculousness page.

“Remember many state elected officials, multiple county and town boards have grave concerns, have taken measures to shut this project down, and we have not yet been able to stop this project,” he said.

Discussion

2 Responses to “LKN Marine Commission postpones toll lane application”

  1. Tarte’s comments are outwardly and disturbingly pessimistic. This, from a Senator who introduced legislation to cancel this dastardly toll project…

    Posted by marielcarr | July 12, 2016, 2:23 pm
  2. He does know the laws better than most people and is probably correct.

    Posted by John Touchberry | July 12, 2016, 3:09 pm

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