Saturday, May 7, 2016

third times a charm

The St Bernard Parish Zoning and Planning Commission has public noticed it’s third Public Hearing on Valero Energy’s proposal to Amend the Future Land Use Map of our neighborhood for commercial incursion via replacement of its five story Administration Building currently located on East Judge Perez Drive with construction of a new administration building on Ohio Street.

The docket item has returned to the last on the agenda list for Tuesday May 24 at 4pm in the Council Chamber’s building on Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette.

One can only guess why Valero would continue the haphazard mixing of incompatible land uses by lowering the existing buffer and bringing plant related commercial use into the green belt and onto the same neighborhood streets where Valero continues to remove our sidewalks. 

Valero Energy representatives claimed in a previous public hearing that the building will function as a noise barrier to address Valero’s propensity to violate the local noise ordinance and damage residents' hearing.

If you’ve ever heard it within your own home, you understand why some residents call it the whistling; others call it something we won’t repeat.

It’s a high pitch, continuous noise. Residents report, “It started again today around 2am, emanating from Valero Energy’s Meraux plant and disrupting an otherwise peaceful weekend.”  So, shortly before sunrise, citizens took their own noise meters to the task of documenting the nuisance .

More and more residents are concerned about hearing loss. While other residents of St Bernard Parish maybe enjoying the spring-like weather, opening windows, or relaxing on patios while reading books, it is more likely residents in the area of Valero Energy’s Meraux refinery are once again subjected to obnoxious high octave noise.

Adding insult to injury, Valero representatives also claim a noise monitor on Lena Drive demonstrates compliance. While Valero has not disclosed the location of this monitor to residents, some have observed an instrument which may be the audio sensor. If this is the particular noise monitor, it's location seems blocked between two houses and metal fencing. Perhaps Valero should provide the locations of its noise meters, access to the audio data, and an explanation as to how audio recordings of citizens is not a violation of our constitutional right to privacy.

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