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Planning Board approves rezoning for Fire Station 6

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Planning Board approved a rezoning to allow for construction of a fire station for the second time in four months.

The station the board discussed Tuesday night is Fire Station No. 6, which will be built on 6 acres at 310 Cedar Springs Road, just west of U.S. 29.

Unlike the last station the board discussed — Fire Station No. 3 — the one discussed Tuesday will not be in an established residential neighborhood.

The plan for a new Fire Station No. 3 was a contentious topic in recent months because residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the proposed station thought that it would lower their property values and create excessive noise and light pollution.

Fire Station 6 is in an area that is primarily zoned for heavy or light industrial activity. But architect Bill Burgin said the station is being built primarily to serve residential areas, particularly the newly annexed Weatherstone subdivision and Little Acres Mobile Home Park.

“That happened to be part of the last annexation that was done in the city in that particular area. And so they fall outside expected response times. And so that station needed to be built on that end of town in order to close that gap,” Burgin said.

Burgin is chairman of the Planning Board, but because he is the architect for Fire Station No. 6, he recused himself from the debate so that he could answer questions from other board members about the project.

“It’s hopefully a little bit easier to deal with from a planning standpoint than the last one I brought you,” Burgin said, referring to Fire Station No. 3, for which he was also the architect.

Fire Station No. 6 will be have a layout similar to No. 3 with a driveway that wraps around the station, allowing firetrucks to enter and exit onto the same street, said Preston Mitchell, the city’s development and code services manager.

Fire Station No. 6 will have six bays — five for firetrucks and one that will be used for firefighter training.

There will also be a fire tower that will be used to train firefighters and to dry hoses, Burgin said.

Burgin said the station will be covered with industrial-looking siding, both because it is cheaper and because it better fits the design of surrounding buildings.

“We’re trying to meet all of those same things that we did with (Fire) Station 3. It’s just that Station 3 is in town and needs a little bit higher aesthetic. And so, therefore, that one was made differently than this one,” Burgin said.

Board member Bill Wagoner asked Mitchell if the residents of the nearby neighborhoods had been contacted. Mitchell said the staff is not legally required to contact residents until the days before the official vote on the rezoning takes place, which will be at the Nov. 21 City Council meeting.

“But there is a big, bright red zoning sign sitting right in front of it,” Mitchell said.

The Planning Board voted unanimously to approve the installation of a conditional district overlay so that Fire Station No. 6 could be built.

Burgin said his firm, Ramsay Burgin Smith Architects, is hoping to solicit bids for construction companies by the end of the year.

He said that from there, he thinks the process will move “pretty quick.”

Although Fire Station No. 6 will go before the City Council several months after Station No. 3, it will likely be built first because the need in the newly annexed residential zones is more urgent than it is in neighborhoods near West Innes Street, Burgin said.

“When the Fire Department examined their service areas and they have this mile-and-a-half circle … and they start drawing those lines, then the people who are outside of that are the gaps. And so that gap was there. And it was a lot of people. In fact, I think I heard the chief say that they had more gaps there then they did anywhere else in the city,” Burgin said.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment also met Tuesday night, just before the Planning Board.

The same people serve on both boards, although the two boards serve different purposes.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to approve a variance request submitted by James and Kari Comadoll, who to build a detached two-car garage 5 feet from their neighbors’ property instead of 10 feet.

All three of the Comadolls’ neighbors submitted signed letters saying they are OK with the garage being constructed.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.



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