Brevard County condo owners look to stop Port Canaveral barge-to-rail plan

Residents say plan may bring diesel fumes, whistling cargo trains, industrial eyesores to area

By Justin Warmoth - Anchor/Reporter

PORT ST. JOHN, Fla. - Brevard County condo owners are fighting to stop Port Canaveral's proposed barge-to-rail plan that they think could bring diesel fumes, whistling cargo trains and industrial eyesores to their area.

While the port's plan could also bring thousands of jobs to the region, homeowners of the Sunrise Landing Condominium complex are worried that the new industrial plans could create non-stop traffic and unwanted noise.

Terry Skaggs, who has lived in the Sunrise Landing for more than a decade, believes that the plans would take away from the condos' quaint river views.

"This would turn this whole area into an industrial slum," Skaggs said.

According to port officials, the barge-to-rail system would likely operate once a week in direction but could expand to every-other-day service based on demand.

Much of the cargo would be brought from the port and linked to Orlando Utilities power plant's barge canal, which is about 400 feet from the condo complex. From there it would be loaded onto trains and would eventually link with Florida East Coast Rail.

"It's not good for Port St. John, it's not good for the state, not good for tourists traveling," said Skaggs. "It's not good for anybody."

While there is still permitting and environmental studies, the port would have to get approved that could take over a year. The homeowners plan to keep fighting to keep their area as is until the end.

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