Being an adjacent property owner, I am totally opposed to the Munro building project on the ravine and the cutting of the trees in the ravine.
The ravine had been a landfill many years ago (ending circa 1962) and is a fragile landscape held together with trees and undergrowth.
During the excavation of the landfill, material such as lead and hydrocarbons and other toxins that are carcinogenic, will turn up. This according to Robert Denton, a Karst geologist and a land fill specialist that toured the site on Sept. 27, and a submitted written report on Oct. 1 pertaining to such.
This indicates that some people in the community will be exposed to toxins through tampering with the landfill. Although the Shepherdstown Commissioners spoke about other trees located in different places on the site - they did not speak about (from Denton report) mature trees ought not to be removed along Rocky Street.
The planning commission spoke little of the five recommendations of the Denton report. There was little discussion of potential toxins being released to the public by this excavation.
Following are some important highlights of the recommendation from the Denton report to Shepherdstown Government:
1. Site activities will disturb historic landfill debris at the site. As the nature of this debris is unknown, it must be assumed to contain hazardous material unless chemical testing can prove otherwise.
2. Recommended chemical analysis should include tests for RCRA metals (eg. lead, mercury, cadmium and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons) some of which are carcinogenic substances.
3. Means by which debris will be constrained on site and prevented from migrating into Town Run.
4. Mature trees remain in place and every effort should be made to protect their root systems, in order to assist in maintaining the stability of the slopes along Bones Wright Street (formerly Rocky Street).
In addition, the Town Run could potentially change its historic course to the Potomac River, which it has been using since 1894, or even earlier in history.