GROTON -- Visiting every board and committee with oversight authorization for building and construction, town officials dropped in on the Planning Board June 14 to discuss a pre-submission plan for a new Center Fire Station.
"We're going to keep plugging away," said Town Manager Mark Haddad of the all boards effort.
Forward movement on a new fire station was approved by residents at town meeting last April when the Board of Selectmen was given authorization to enter purchase negotiations with the Lawrence Homestead Trust, owners of the Farmers Row property chosen by the Center Fire Station Building Committee as the best site for the facility.
Since then, the town has proceeded in negotiations for a purchase and sales agreement with the Homestead Trust and issued a request for proposal to solicit bids from parties willing to act as project manager.
Cost of the 2.7-acre parcel on which the fire station would be built is along one of the town's most scenic drives and has been set at $350,000 with the final price tag for the new building estimated at $8 million.
As proposed, the new fire station would come to 18,500 square feet including a four bay garage and three story administration complex with fitness room, dormitory, kitchen, dining room, and day room planned for the second floor and HVAC and other mechanical equipment to be placed in the third floor "attic" space.
The building's overall design will be barn-like complete with rooftop
Also discussed were plans to extend an existing sewer line from the Public Safety Building to the site of the new fire station which could arrive there by two alternate routes: a shorter route direct from the Public Safety Building across some wetlands or 1,600 feet along Farmers Row.
Concerns raised by board members last night included parking, snow storage, drainage, installation of a sidewalk along Farmers Row to the area of town center, and traffic lights.
Also of concern, was the exact position of the building on the site, whether to place it farther back out of sight of the road or farther forward so as to keep parking in the rear.
"Let's make sure that functionally, we have a design that works for firefighters," reminded board chairman John Giger as last night's discussion wound down.
Although no specific date was set to begin formal site plan review, planners are expected to return when a definitive design plan is ready.
Also last night, board members:
-- Voted to allow withdrawal without prejudice of an application for site plan review of a Coach House Seafood Grill & Restaurant proposed for the carriage house on the site of the former Groton Inn. Although owner George Pergantis, in a letter to the board, explained that the withdrawal was on account of changes in the board's membership and lack of quorum, the proposal had presented members with some difficulties due to contradictions in the application.
-- Voted in conjunction with Tree Warden Tom Delaney to allow 50 Hoyts Wharf Road resident Jack Waldie to remove a tree at the end of his driveway even though it was considered protected under the town's scenic roads bylaw. Waldie requested the removal of the tree for safety reasons involving improvement of the sight line from his driveway and up the street. The affirmative vote however, was made subject to oversight of the tree's removal by Delaney.
-- Decided that a site plan review would not be necessary in the case of Nashoba Valley Dance Academy owner Caitlin Brandt and voted to waive the requirement. At issue was Brandt's plan to move her business from its current location on Willowdale Road to Mill Run Plaza. The only concern board members had about the move was the availability of parking at Mill Run. Counts by Brandt at various times of the day and testimony from planning administrator Michelle Collette indicated that there would be sufficient but members still advised the applicant to speak to the plaza's owner's association about the matter before making any firm decision to move in.