City to keep on RR Co. about messy property

ST. MARTINVILLE – The City Council tonight asked planning and zoning coordinator Shedrick Berard to keep the lines of communication open with the railroad company that owns the old trackless right of way through the city.

Meanwhile, Mayor Thomas Nelson will ask his DEQ contacts what can be done to ensure that there are no hazardous materials being stored in truck trailers and other containers parked on the right of way just off Main Street.

“We’ll get the answers,” he said.

Councilman Mike Fuselier, a board member of the ARC of St. Martin, brought the matter to the council’s attention.

The ARC, an organization that provides training and employment for handicapped persons, has offices near the site.

They have been negotiating with Union Pacific Railroad out of Dallas to buy the right of way and clean it up but to no avail, Fuselier said.

Since it is private property, the police department can only get involved if Union Pacific complains about the trucking concern trespassing on its right of way, said SMPD Chief Administrator Todd d’Albor.

“I’d like to know what kind of chemicals are in there,” Councilman Dennis Paul Williams said.

The city’s limited power to force a clean up of private property is stymied if the guilty party is “squatting” on the property, Nelson explained.

The mayor has been dealing with the state Department of Environmental Quality over the cleanup of the old Talley Company trucking headquarters at Market and Madison streets.

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