Aberdeen Fire Station Expansion Plans OK'd
Despite lingering concerns over parking and drainage, the Aberdeen Town Board on Thursday approved a site plan for the Fire Department expansion.
The expansion will add 4,195 square feet to the existing building on Holly Street at a cost of about $1.4 million. The expansion incudes 600 square feet for storage, as well as space for an emergency operations center, offices, a training center, living quarters, a workout area, a new kitchen and a new conference room.
The expansion will be added to the side of the building that borders Peach Street.
The council voted on the expansion during its work session, which followed a joint meeting with the Planning Board to discuss the project.
The joint meeting centered around two major concerns within the plan: parking and drainage.
Parking is an issue because the site is small, and it is difficult to shoehorn in the number of parking spaces that the expansion would need to meet the requirements of the town zoning ordinance. The ordinance would require a building with the square footage of the expanded fire station to have 52 parking spaces.
“We need to do a little more with parking,” town Planning Director Kathy Liles said.
One option explored was to close Holly Street. Another was to make Holly Street a one-way road.
Those options raised concerns about access to surrounding property, including a home on Wicker Way.
Mayor Betsy Mofield said that if she owned the house she didn’t think she would want to have the access limited by altering traffic patterns on Holly Street.
After discussing those solutions to the parking issue, Commissioner Alan Parker proposed another option.
“What you are giving us is a hodgepodge finding of spaces,” Parker said. “I want us to cover all the bases, look at all our options. Wouldn’t it make more sense to do the simple thing and buy more land to have more spaces?”
Town Manager Bill Zell said purchasing more land was an option that the town was “working on.”
Liles told the board that it could lessen the parking requirement for the facility if it is deemed appropriate to do so.
The second area of concern is the drainage system that will incorporate a 12,0000-gallon tank that will allow the department to utilize stormwater for landscaping irrigation and filling water tanks in firetrucks.
Questions remain about how and where it would connect to the existing system.
“The level of design to make that determination is just not there yet,” Liles said.
During the joint meeting, the Planning Board voted 4-0 to approve the site plan, with the provisions that drainage and parking requirements be addressed before construction begins.
In the work session, the Town Board voted 4-0 to approve the same.
“I want to see them start moving on this,” said Commissioner Pat Ann McMurray after she seconded the motion for approval made by Walter Wright.
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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