TOWNSEND -- Selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday night to support a proposal from the Fire Department for a new headquarters building estimated to cost $11.3M.
Fire Chief Donald Klein said the five buildings being used by the Fire Department are outdated. Opening a new facility would allow the town to sell or repurpose some of those properties while increasing efficiency.
"I'd like to get away from the five stations. It's not efficient today and it's not going to be efficient going into the future," Klein said.
The new building would provide the Fire Department with more storage space, a large conference room and room for several trucks.
Klein said the department is in talks with the Townsend Ridge Country Club to purchase six acres of land on the club's Scales Lane property to build the headquarters, though a cost has not yet been negotiated.
The location just off Main Street would allow the department to have quick response times to central and West Townsend, Klein said.
Klein presented a second option to build two buildings, a headquarters and a substation for $12.5 million.
He said the department had not yet found sites that would make this option viable.
The Scales Lane site is ideal because it allows for potential expansion of the building, he said.
"One of the goals for us is that it would not only be functional for the community and the Fire Department, but that it would be expandable in the future," Klein said.
Selectman Sue Lisio asked that the possibility for expansion be built into the design, allowing space on the property for other town buildings in the future.
"Over a number of years buildings change and needs change, and the need for us tends to be storage," Lisio said.
Klein said storage is an important need that the new building would meet. "From record-keeping to supplies to equipment, we've got it stashed all over the place in town," he said.
The building will incorporate sustainable design elements and durable building materials to minimize energy and maintenance costs. Klein said the building committee is planning for the headquarters to last for 50 years.
"Hopefully, we'll have a building that will be a model for other communities in the future to come and look at," Klein said.
The proposal will be on the warrant at Special Town Meeting on Oct. 29, and if approved, residents will vote on a debt exclusion at April's town election.
From that point, Klein said, it would take about eight months to begin construction. The building process would take another 12 to 14 months.
The Fire Department Building Committee will be holding an informational session next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall to inform residents of the building plan.
Selectmen also voted unanimously to put a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries on the warrant for Town Meeting. The moratorium would go through the end of 2014.
Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said the moratorium would give the town time to interpret state regulations and plan for possible marijuana dispensary locations.
"It would allow us to do some local planning to decide where we think appropriate locations would be," Sheehan said.
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