Res­i­dents con­cerned over truck traf­fic on Bat­tle­field Park­way in Ring­gold

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY - By Adam Cook

The Ring­gold City Coun­cil re­cently ap­proved a vari­ance re­quest for a lo­cal truck­ing com­pany to park trucks and trac­tor­trail­ers at a lot off Bat­tle­field Park­way de­spite traf­fic con­cerns from a se­lect group liv­ing near the lot.

Lo­cal busi­ness­man Alvin Mash­burn says he struck an agree­ment in Jan­uary with MB Car­ri­ers to park some of its trucks and trail­ers on a stretch of his com­mer­cial prop­erty just south of exit 350.

“It’s for com­mer­cial truck park­ing on the lot off Bat­tle­field Park­way,” Mash­burn said. “MB Car­ri­ers is cur­rently leas­ing from us to park six to eight trucks, and maybe 10 trail­ers.”

Ca­toosa County Dis­trict 3 Com­mis­sioner Jim Cut­ler spoke dur­ing the pub­lic hear­ing af­ter re­ceiv­ing feed­back from a group of peo­ple who live near the lot.

“I’m here rep­re­sent­ing my­self and some of my con­stituents,” Cut­ler said. “I got some phone calls from peo­ple ask­ing why we’re al­low­ing trucks to park in that one area. That area of 2A is served by El­lis Springs Road, Fowler Road, Gil­bert Road and Hid­den Trace. The con­cern is traf­fic with trucks pulling in and out. We al­ready have traf­fic from Ju­nior’s lum­ber and the two day­care cen­ters there. Peo­ple pull down and make u-turns to get down to the Hamp­ton Inn. Soon they’ll be do­ing the same thing to get to the new Farm to Fork we hope, and of course, they’re plan­ning a sec­ond ho­tel there.”

Cut­ler said some res­i­dents are con­cerned about safety.

“The big­gest con­cern from the calls I’ve got­ten are from the peo­ple emp­ty­ing out on 2A in that area and the in­creased truck traf­fic. I’ve had sev­eral calls ask­ing that this not be al­lowed. There’s no sig­nage, there’s no stop lights to warn peo­ple when trucks may be com­ing in and out.”

Cut­ler says the traf­fic could af­fect him per­son­ally be­cause he lived on Hid­den Trace, but added that his main rea­son for speak­ing on the mat­ter was as an elected of­fi­cial.

“I told my con­stituents that I’d speak for them,” he said. “There are sub­di­vi­sions and quite a pop­u­la­tion liv­ing in that area.”

Mash­burn wasn’t thrilled with the op­po­si­tion, stat­ing that the land is spec­i­fied for com­mer­cial use.

“I’d just like to bring to your at­ten­tion that that 10 acres is com­mer­cial prop­erty, and this is just a lit­tle bit of what’s go­ing to hap­pen there,” Mash­burn said. “Sooner or later I’m go­ing to sell that to some big or­ga­ni­za­tion. It’s go­ing to be a big truck­ing ter­mi­nal and you’re go­ing to see hun­dreds of trucks and all kinds of stuff. ... That’s com­mer­cial prop­erty. For you (Cut­ler) to come down here and com­plain about five trucks is piti­ful.”

Mash­burn told the coun­cil he’d sell it to the city to do with as the city wishes.

“That’s com­mer­cial prop­erty, you know. ... If you guys want to buy it, that’s fine. ... I’ll take $1.3 mil­lion for it and you can do what­ever you want to do with it,” he said. “It’s com­mer­cial prop­erty, it’s ready to build on: sewer, wa­ter, gas, ev­ery­thing, and I pay over $20,000 a year in taxes on that prop­erty.”

Cut­ler re­it­er­ated that his main fo­cus was do­ing his job as a representative of Dis­trict 3.

“I rep­re­sent a dis­trict,” Cut­ler said. “I’ve got­ten calls from cit­i­zens ask­ing me to do some­thing about it, and that’s ex­actly what I’m do­ing. I feel ob­li­gated to rep­re­sents those peo­ple. That’s why we’re all elected. They have to turn to some­body. And if it turns into a big com­mer­cial truck­ing ter­mi­nal, I’ll prob­a­bly be stand­ing here be­fore you again.”

The truck­ing com­pany leas­ing the prop­erty from Mash­burn says that the trucks have spe­cific runs, mostly to Roper Cor­po­ra­tion in LaFayette, and that the trucks are usu­ally only trav­el­ing through the area dur­ing the early morn­ing hours be­tween 3 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., and are usu­ally back and parked by 3 p.m.

Mike Het­field, pres­i­dent and CEO of MB Car­ri­ers, said the agree­ment in­cludes a max­i­mum of six trucks and 10 trail­ers that can be parked at the site. The lease be­tween Mash­burn and the truck­ing com­pany is also open-ended, mean­ing that both sides have to give each other 90 days no­tice if they plan on end­ing the pact.

“As far as the traf­fic im­pact, it’s al­most nil, Het­field said. “We have trucks that make daily runs, and they leave out any­where from 3 to 6 (a.m.), or 6:30 (a.m.), and that’s by de­sign be­cause we want to get through Chat­tanooga, and two trucks try­ing to get to Nashville, ahead of rush hour.”

The coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved the vari­ance, con­tin­gent on it be­ing spe­cific to MB Car­ri­ers. If they were to move or dis­solve the agree­ment with Mash­burn, he would have to re­quest a new vari­ance if he wished to lease it out to a new com­pany for sim­i­lar use.

Ca­toosa County Dis­trict 3 Com­mis­sioner Jim Cut­ler voices con­cerns to the Ring­gold City Coun­cil about po­ten­tial truck traf­fic along Bat­tle­field Park­way dur­ing an Aug. 28 meet­ing. (Ca­toosa News photo/Adam Cook)

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