Angry Allen homeowners: No bus barn near us

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on October 24, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 24 at 10:33 PM

ALLEN — Where do you park more than 120 school buses?

"Not in my backyard." That was the overwhelming answer to the question Monday night in Allen.

The school district already purchased property for a new bus barn south of Stacy Road and west of Watters Road. But upset neighbors say they fear pollution, noise and traffic.

They made plenty of noise of their own at an Allen school board meeting.

The Stacy Road site is the Allen ISD's second location for a service center, which includes a bus barn and warehouse for district supplies from food to textbooks. The 43-acre site is surrounded by three neighborhoods.

How can you have the conscience to put this facility in the middle of three residential communities?" asked Allen homeowner Hoc Lo, speaking to school board members. "It should not make sense to you, and should not make sense to anyone."

The district acquired the property off Watters Road one month after nixing their first location in Parker. That site also generated a furious response from homeowners.

Now, neighbors of the newest proposed location are voicing their opposition.

"We didn't come here to see yellow buses rule like New York. We didn't come here to see property values drop, like in California. And we didn't come here to see taxes spent like the national debt," said Robert Goldsmith, who lives near the site.

District officials say the service center, with its 125 buses, will not impose on neighbors. They're planning on building a new four-lane road to keep vehicles away from neighborhoods. There are also plans to line the property with trees and a wall, which will serve as a buffer.

But that failed to appease homeowner Jenny Furniss. "I know you plan to make it as environmentally friendly as possible," she said, "but there isn't any way to contain the pollution and congestion that will automatically come with the number of buses we need in Allen."

Allen homeowner Tom Chun read from an Environmental Protection Agency document detailing what should not be built near schools. "It essentially talks about a distribution center, bus terminal, bus garages and truck stops. It sounds familiar," said Chun.

This debate won't end anytime soon. The service center isn't scheduled to be built until 2014.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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