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33 corridors out of general revenue funds (North Carolina Four major tools are available--either individually or in General Statute 136-44.36A). combination--to achieve the goals of freight-compatible Once a rail corridor has been banked, restoring active development. These are examined in the next four chapters freight rail service may vary considerably and will depend on as follows: the type and intensity of adjacent land holdings, the duration of the abandonment, and the type of rail service being pro- 1. Long-range planning (Chapter 6), posed. The main reasons it is important to preserve freight 2. Zoning and design (Chapter 7), rail corridors and restrict placing the corridors into rail bank- 3. Mitigation (Chapter 8), and ing are the issues of reversionary property right interests 4. Education and outreach (Chapter 9). (where the railroad was acquired through easement and not as a fee-simple purchase) and community reactions to the Although most of these tools are prospective in nature and restoration of service. Research released in March 2011 on designed to avoid conflict, incompatible land uses already abandoned rail corridors reviewed case law on the common exist close to many freight-transportation-related services and law of property and reversionary interests that are held in conflict has resulted. In these cases, at least in the short run, many of these corridors. Class action challenges to rail-trail measures such as design standards and mitigation approaches conversions in the early 1990s began to be instigated because are a means to minimize conflicts. landowners adjacent to railroads were unhappy that they Table 5-1 lists some of the specific freight corridor and could not absorb the land back into their property holdings facility preservation and protection strategies under the four (Morgan et al. 2011). In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court deter- major tools that can be used to achieve better freight-compatible mined that holding the railroad easement intact for future development. Table 5-1 is not an exhaustive list that covers reactivation was within the scope of a legitimate railroad use every possible scenario. Rather, it is designed to provide (Preseault v. United States 1996). examples of tools, policies, and strategies that have been found The Staten Island Railroad case study in Appendix B to be effective in particular contexts. documents the strategy used to preserve a corridor in Staten All of the tools described in this report and found in Island for future freight use. Time is perhaps the most essential more detail on the EnvisionFreight website, http://www. element in successfully preserving an abandoned corridor. EnvisionFreight.com, can be utilized by different stakeholders Agencies that have advance knowledge of a rail operator's (for example, various levels of government and government intent to abandon have an opportunity to put together the agencies, community interests, freight groups, developers) as funding and make other arrangements necessary to transfer they plan to prevent, consider, and--in some instances--deal ownership to a new party and thereby prevent the linear cor- with conflicts that arise because of proximity of incompatible ridor from being subdivided. This is particularly true in cases types of land uses near freight facilities. The remainder of this where a rail corridor is held in easement that is conditional chapter provides examples of how various stakeholders can on its maintaining a transportation function. use the EnvisionFreight website. For planners and elected officials, EnvisionFreight has been Tools for Freight-Compatible designed to help to Development · Understand how freight fits into the local, national, and The goal of freight-compatible development is to preserve global economy; existing freight facilities and corridors, effectively plan for · Understand the issues that arise from conflicts and how future freight activities, and reduce impacts that occur they impact freight-transportation-related services and because of the proximity of incompatible land uses around a community; and freight corridors and facilities. Thus, the main objectives · Begin to consider the kinds of tools, scenarios, commu of freight-compatible development are to (1) ensure that nication, and educational outreach that they might want freight-transportation-related services are not affected use to improve their freight planning and preservation by, or do not affect, other land uses placed close to freight capacity. corridors or facilities; (2) reduce and minimize community For developers, EnvisionFreight aims to ensure that they impacts that arise because of the proximity of sensitive land consider how freight activities may affect and intersect uses, including residences, schools, hospitals, and emergency with residential and other sensitive types of land use they services; and (3) incorporate the preservation and protec- may be planning. With a better understanding of these tion of freight facilities and corridors as a forward-looking components, developers should be able to choose appro- component of general planning and economic development priate sites and design and incorporate construction and policies. mitigation components to reduce conflicts that may arise.
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34 Table 5-1. Tools for achieving freight-compatible development. Long-Range Zoning and Design Mitigation Education and Planning Outreach State Enabling Acts Zoning Standards Buffer Areas Informal Negotiations Regional Visioning Buffer Areas Noise and Vibration Public Involvement Treatment Comprehensive Overlay Districts Plans Multijurisdictional Track Treatment Agreements Lot Orientation Freight Facility Inventories Yard Realignment Stakeholder Property Design Round Tables and Freight/Community Official Maps Grade Crossing Committees Construction Management Standards Purchase and Advance Acquisition Port Gate Soundproofing Management Standards Land Swaps Environmental Measures Protective Condemnation Zoning Measures Permit Development Public Outreach and Education Access Rights Relocation For freight entities, EnvisionFreight is intended to provide various freight modes and impacts that arise because of education and assistance regarding land-use planning and freight activity and proximity to incompatible land uses, zoning processes. With a better understanding of these pro- and to show the types of tools that can be used to more cesses, as well as tools that can be used to more effectively effectively plan for freight. deal with freight in land-use planning and zoning, freight For state legislators and staff, EnvisionFreight is designed entities can be more effective participants in such processes. to provide information and ideas for potential legislative For individual citizens or community groups, the goal of changes that would facilitate better integration of freight EnvisionFreight is to provide basic information about the and land-use planning.