Chowchilla council to consider temporary halt on HSR construction unless 'negative impacts' are resolved

The Chowchilla City Council said it will consider action to temporarily prohibit high-speed rail construction in the city unless “negative impacts” are resolved.

The council said that at its July 25 meeting, an agenda item is the consideration of an Urgency Ordinance that would impose a temporary moratorium on the construction of any portion of the high-speed rail system within the city limits unless negative impacts from the proposed project are resolved.

At its July 11 meeting, a representative of the California High Speed Rail Authority presented a number of potential routes being considered by the authority that would bisect Chowchilla in two directions. One proposed route would travel north-south, while the other would travel east-west. Many residents and business owners have expressed concern over the effect of any of the proposed routes bisecting the city, fearing they’d be detrimental for the following reasons:

--Jeopardizes public safety by limiting police and fire access to parcels of property delaying response times.--Eliminates or damages current businesses operating within city limits. --Causes blight and excessive noise.

Mayor David Alexander said in a news release that the council “is continuing its efforts to protect its citizens from the potentially adverse effects of the high-speed rail project to our City and we are attempting to mitigate the outcome on our community."

If adopted, the proposed Urgency Ordinance would prohibit any construction of any railway project until city officials can establish a comprehensive ordinance detailing the permitting process for building any of the high-speed rail system within the city limits. That ordinance would remain in effect until it’s determined that any such route would be the least detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the city's residents, according to the council’s news release.

The proposed moratorium would remain in effect from when it’s adopted until Sept. 8, unless the city acts to extend or repeal the date. The moratorium is designed to allow time for further study of the impacts of the proposed routes.

For more information contact Mayor David Alexander (559) 665-3434 or visit the city’s website at www.ci.chowchilla.ca.us.