Follow-up: Read the story about the DOE meeting that appeared in The Oak Ridger newspaper on September 30.

AFORR members/supporters: Please plan to participate in an important Department of Energy public meeting!   Updated September 25, 1999 with new information from DOE -- including a map.

Wednesday, September 29, 1999, 5:30 pm
Oak Ridge Mall Community Room
Purpose: To solicit comments on a proposal to lease Parcel ED-3 on the Oak Ridge Reservation to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET).

DOE is preparing a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental assessment (EA) about the proposal, with the draft EA expected to be published for comment in November. Comments at the upcoming meeting are supposed to be reflected in the draft EA. It appears that DOE originally intended to prepare the draft EA without public input as to its scope, but decided to hold this public meeting after AFORR members and others raised concerns about the process. We need to thank DOE for bringing the public into the process, and we should demonstrate our concern by turning out at this meeting.

DOE proposes to lease 450 acres  to CROET, which would then sublease portions for "mixed uses" allowed under the City of Oak Ridge IND-2 industrial zoning regulation. Parcel ED-3 includes several small tracts of land adjacent to Oak Ridge Turnpike and Blair Road, both north of Oak Ridge Turnpike (including part of the former Wheat Community) and south of the highway across from the old K-25 Site. See map (warning: large file). DOE has also said  that some 1,520 acres surrounding ED-3 would be a "buffer area," but has not explained what this means. 

This meeting is a chance to learn more about this proposal and to express our concerns. Some concerns that members might state are:

  • DOE should stop making piecemeal decisions on Oak Ridge Reservation lands. Instead there should be a comprehensive public land-use planning process for these public lands.
  • The timing seems wrong. CROET already oversees hundreds of acres available for development on Parcel ED-1, as well as a large expanse of vacant facilities and land at K-25. Because CROET has its hands full right now, it probably would be many years before ED-3 would be developed. Also, the future existence of CROET is uncertain, since it depends on federal funding, so CROET might not be around to develop the property. All in all, it doesn't make sense to release more land to CROET right now.
  • It is not clear to us that DOE and CROET complied with either the letter or the spirit of the stringent environmental mitigation commitments on which the lease of parcel ED-1 was contingent. With this record, it doesn't seem wise to entrust more ORR public land to the same CROET organization.
A large turnout by people who are prepared to express their opinions will help demonstrate that Oak Ridge Reservation land use is important to more than a few people. Please plan to attend, and come prepared to speak up!

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