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Letter: Residential area isn’t suitable for fire station

This note is in regard to the proposed siting of a fire station in a residential neighborhood on Mahaley Avenue and adjacent to my home on Lilly Avenue. The city Planning Board (PB) will have a rezoning vote on July 25.
My neighbors that I have been able to speak with are opposed to the siting of the fire station due to the noise, lights, decreased property values and inevitable destabilization of our quiet street. This proposed fire station includes a 15-foot or higher retaining wall, just 10 feet from neighboring property lines. We of course are not opposed to a new fire station in principle but feel that the largest fire station in the city should be constructed in a nearby commercial district.
At the last PB meeting, I appreciated that some PB members with real estate expertise acknowledged that of course the fire station will reduce our property values, and highlighted the loud outdoor intercom system that will “only” be in use from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Imagine attempting to put a toddler to sleep and being thwarted by an outdoor intercom. My family will be in that exact situation, every day and every night.
Fortunately, I was informed recently that the city has not completed the land purchase but only has an option to purchase the land, meaning it’s not too late to start a new site search with citizen input. I appreciate that Preston Mitchell, with the city, confirmed my assertion that this proposed site would indeed be the only fire station in the city adjacent to “general residential” zoned property.
To the Planning Board: I ask for the sake of my neighbors, family, and nearby Horizons Unlimited educational facility, please do not break sensible precedent by allowing a fire station adjacent to a quiet residential neighborhood.
— Jay Bolin
Salisbury

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