GROTON -- Concerns that the town's administration may have been rushing things last week when a pair of office trailers appeared on the construction site where the new Center Fire Station is to be built prompted Town Manager Mark Haddad to address the issue at a Board of Selectmen meeting held April 8.
"I have a valid permit for those trailers from the building commissioner," insisted Haddad. "If we didn't get started right away, we'd be facing delays and cost overruns, and I have the taxpayers to keep in mind."
Haddad made his comments as months of planning, permitting, and arrangements for financial backing came to an end only days ago when it was announced that the Standard & Poor's rating agency gave Groton a rating of AA+, paving the way for a bond measure needed to cover the cost of the new fire station.
At an interest rate of 2.6 percent, the town will borrow $7.7 million for an end total of $9.5 million when the 22-year life of the loan is completed.
Meanwhile, work will have already begun at the Farmer's Row property chosen as the new site of the Center Fire Station.
There, protective fencing has been put up and excavation begun.
In fact, the question of earth removal was also addressed at the April 8 meeting, with board members approving the removal of up to 1,700 cubic yards of fill from the site.
According to Town Planner Michelle Collette, the fill will be removed to the DPW garage at the transfer station for storage and later use by the town.
Nevertheless, some residents had initially expressed concern at the sudden appearance of the office trailers which they said were located at the site without proper review and approval by pertinent land-use boards.
When asked about the matter, Haddad said he had acquired a permit from the building commissioner and had scheduled a public hearing on April 24 with the Zoning Board of Appeals to formally apply for a special permit.
The two trailers are intended for use by the project's general contractor, TLT Construction of Wakefield, and the clerk of the works.
Haddad said he had spoken to a member of the ZBA on the issue of the trailers being moved onto the property, and was assured that it would be all right to do so.
The trailers, Haddad continued, were not in violation of any zoning bylaw, including those dealing with setback requirements.
Board Chairman Stuart Schulman, a former member of the ZBA, said all he could recall about similar situations involving construction trailers dealt with the time when they had to be removed from a work site.
"So I stand by my decision," concluded Haddad.
Expected to take a year to construct, when finished, the new Center Fire Station will include a four-bay garage and two-story administration complex with offices on the first floor; 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, designed to look somewhat like a barn from a distance, will also have an enclosed training area and access to wastewater services via an easement overland to a pump station located at the Public Safety Building.