“Will it withstand a hurricane?”
“Will it disturb endangered species?”
“Will it use solar power?”
“How about noise and lighting in terms of neighbors?”
“Why this site and not land the town already owns?”
These were among the many questions raised about the design of a new south side Bourne Fire Station, at a full-house meeting Wednesday, October 16 between the Bourne Fire Station Building Committee and members of the public at the Pocasset Community Center.
For the last 18 months, the committee and the Bourne Fire Department have exhaustively investigated potential sites for a new south side fire station
The questions they set out to answer were: what is operationally needed in a fire station south of the Bourne bridge, and where could it feasibly be built?
Ten sites were carefully considered and a conceptual design for the building has been created.
On Wednesday evening, the committee, the project manager, and Keenan and Kenny Architects gave a presentation to the public recommending a site at the corner of Dr. Julius Kelley Lane and County Road in Pocasset.
Barnstable County is looking to sell 80 acres at that location, which the Town of Bourne would like to buy — regardless of whether a fire station is built there.
The state has the right of first refusal on the property. The Town of Bourne, as the “host community,” has the next right of refusal.
If the state does not want the property, and if the Bourne Board of Selectmen is authorized by the Special Town Meeting on October 28, through Article 17, to “negotiate in the best interest of the town to pursue acquiring the parcel for an amount no greater than $900,000” (which the town has), selectman Peter J. Meier said, the Town could purchase it.
The proposed new fire station would be built on two acres of that property, where it might be able to use an existing, operating wastewater treatment facility.
Several members of the audience asked why the Town Forest land was not chosen.
Using the Town Forest land would require an exchange of land, whereby the Town of Bourne would be required to identify and set aside a comparable parcel elsewhere, which might or might not be Town owned, the meeting’s presenters explained.
The Town Forest is also adjacent to, and sits within, Wellhead Protection Zones, which could cause potential restrictions and delays in the building project, and the land would require “substantial excavation and shaping of side slopes” before a fire station could be built there, according to a hand-out available at the meeting.
The county land on Dr. Julius Kelley Lane offers benefits similar to the Town Forest, without the potential restrictions and delays, and without the need for excavation.
Preliminary plans for the station — which is designed to be independent of the other Bourne stations and to serve to the Bourne rotary and as far as the Gallo Ice Rink — show a “typical wood-frame building with a metal roof and shingle siding” designed for potential future expansion and equipped to have power 24/7 in an emergency.
Yes, the building will be fully hurricane -resistant, able to withstand winds of 120-miles per hour. Yes, the issue of endangered species will be researched. And, yes, solar panels, which are now designed to be installed without drilling holes into the roof, could be added.
The station would have low lighting, and would be set back from the road by 100 feet, and that 100 feet would be filled with vegetation, Project Manager Joseph Sullivan said.
Bourne Fire Chief Norman Sylvester, Jr., said that one of the goals in building the new station would be to “minimize the impact.” “We’re trying to make it so that the firefighters can be more responsive to the community, and we’re trying to be good neighbors,” he said.
Chief Sylvester also said that avoiding environmental impact will be a priority. “We now understand this (the importance of protecting the environment) more than ever,” he said.
“This is your building,” the Chief said to the Bourne residents who attended the meeting, and he invited people to come forward after the presentation to look at the plans and give feedback.
When a new south side fire station is built, the current, un-staffed, Monument Beach fire station will be closed