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06/10/2020 08:00 AM

Not a Dumping Ground

I share the frustration of the author of a recent letter to the editor [May 14 letter “In Violation” by Michael Wayne] concerning Valley Railroad Company use of Deep River Depot as storage for its unused rail cars. I have been trying to address this problem with town officials for more than a year without success.

It is not as though this issue is unknown or unclear to either the town or Valley Railroad Company, nor is this the first time town residents have faced it. In fact, the minutes of the April 18, 2013 meeting of the Deep River Planning & Zoning Commission state: “letter dated April 3, 2013 from [Zoning Enforcement Officer] Jefferson to Robert Bradway at The Valley Railroad Company regarding rail cars being stored at the leased railroad property at 152 River Street in Deep River. Rail cars that are not in active service for the Valley Railroad are not to be stored at the Deep River site.” Given this clear precedent, I am baffled as to why requests to three Deep River Zoning Enforcement Officers (former ZEOs Cathie Jefferson and Julie Pudem and former interim ZEO Torrence Downs) as well as First Selectman Angus McDonald have failed to resolve this problem.

The Valley Railroad Company is a for-profit business that has a responsibility to respect the environment in which it operates. Not only are the rail cars blocking the view of the Connecticut River—a view enjoyed by town residents and visitors alike—they are also an eyesore that diminish the natural beauty of the landing neighborhood. The depot is not Valley Railroad Company’s dumping ground. It should stop using it as one.

Brett Thompson

Deep River