~ Submitted by Jan van Steenwijk
The Historic District is, by law, a protected area, and bound by strict rules. It can take months to get permission just to replace a fence or make other changes to their house. We should protect the district from becoming a place where industrial looking buildings take over. Already there are too many structures in the Historic District that have taken away the ambience of the Great Road – why would we continue that trend? A new Fire Station, as proposed at 139 Great Road would change the character of the district even more. It will be necessary to build an enormous structure with four enormous garage doors facing the road plus a 2 or 3 story structure to house all personnel and equipment.
Try to envision the current station at four times the size being built on the property! The current stonewall at the street will disappear, the property, which right now is about three feet above the street will be excavated to street level and the space between the street and the new building will be lowered to be replaced by, at least a 100-feet-wide concrete apron, sloping from the station to the street, allowing the big fire trucks to exit and enter. In all likelihood there will be a traffic light installed. I can only suggest that town officials, voters and we reconsider the issue and look at other places for a new station.
The site I would suggest is at the current Bedford Motel. Its area is larger than 137 Great Road, and it is already level with the street, which would shave off costs for difficult excavating. It is also in an area with other companies like the Volkswagen dealership across the street. Egress and access to the town is more appropriate and less destructive in that area.
Finally, in the Warrant’s Article 9, the town asks: “to appropriate the total sum of $2,001,655, or any other sum, for design…etc.” If we approve this very large amount and in the end the site is not approved by the Historical District Commission, we, the taxpayers, have had the burden to pay for a design that cannot be used!