New Rail Project in Shelburne Raises Concerns in Community

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Changes are in the future for a local railway transfer station.  The Burlington based company Vermont Rail System is re-locating some of it’s facilities farther south along Route 7.  But the new “host” town has some concerns.  There may not be much the Shelburne community can do about it.

Joe Colangelo is Shelburne’s Town Manager.  He and other leaders are unsure about a new rail facility being built by Vermont Rail System.  “They pretty much immediately began clearing logs and making way for their development,” said Colangelo.  VT Rail is relocating it’s truck-transfer station from downtown Burlington to just north of Shelburne’s town center.  Colangelo says the project is moving too fast.  He says there’s not much the town can do about it.

“If every town across the united states could regulate the railroad, our rail network would fail,” stated David Wulfson, President of Vermont Rail System.  He says rail companies like his are federally exempt from municipal zoning and permitting laws.  It means Shelburne doesn’t have the chance to conduct traffic, noise, or environmental studies; some of the major concerns Shelburne leaders have.

“In proximity we have a school, we have a gym.  There’s 7 thousand 8 thousand residents here, there’s no reason we shouldn’t know information about the project,” said Kevin Clayton.  Clayton owns and operates Village Wine and Coffee.  He’s run a local business for 11 years, he says Shelburne has a strong business community.  He supports bringing more businesses into Shelburne, but thinks people should have more information on how a project could impact the community.

“We’ve offered to give them information that they’re looking for.  Some of it would have to remain confidential if they agree to that.  I’ll just leave it at that, because of our contract with our customers,” said Wulfson.  He says the multi-million dollar salt, timber, and oil transfer facility will follow all federal environmental laws; and traffic shouldn’t increase heading south into Shelburne.

For Colangelo and the rest of the town, he says only time will tell, “They provide an important service to Vermont, there’s no question, but again I think you need to look at is this facility in this location, does that really make sense.”  Wulfson adds, “We have been a good neighbor in the south end of Burlington for the past 20 years, We’re going to be a good neighbor in Shelburne.”

Shelburne residents and businesses who have concerns about the new Vermont Rail Transfer station are encouraged to contact the town offices and speak with Colangelo.

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