Planning board approves new fire stations Police firing range is turned down

January 29, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

Proposals for new fire stations in Ridgeway and on Forest Drive near Annapolis received preliminary approval from the Anne Arundel County Planning Advisory Board yesterday, but a police request for an indoor firing range was turned down.

The board, which makes recommendations on capital projects to County Executive Robert R. Neall, heard presentations from the two public safety departments. The approvals came in the form of straw votes, meaning things could change before a recommendation is sent to Mr. Neall.

The board also heard requests from the Public Works department for $380,580 in waterways improvement projects and $2.5 million in storm drain projects.

Board members indicated their approval of the storm drain projects. The Waterways projects will come up for a vote at the next meeting.

The vote was only a preliminary step in the budget process. Once all departments have made their presentations, the advisory board will take a final vote on the whole package.

Fire Chief Paul C. Haigley Jr. said his capital budget request is almost identical to last year's, almost none of which was approved by the County Council.

The only addition is a proposed appropriation of $75,000 for research into building a new fire tower, which firefighters use for live fire training under controlled conditions. The tower was not voted on.

The fire department also requested $3.6 million for the Ridgeway fire station, which is a relocation of the Herald Harbor station; $3.4 million for the facility on Forest Drive and $4.02 million for a Crownsville station.

Eight fire stations will be relocated or built over the next several years as the result of a fire safety study completed in 1991 identifying communities more than 2 1/2 miles from a fire station.

Although the Ridgeway and Forest Drive projects received a positive vote, the Crownsville station was not included in the motion for approval because board members felt it needed more discussion.

The board also directed the police department to find an alternative to building its $3.16 million indoor firing range. Budget analyst Gregory V. Nourse told board members Mr. Neall asked that the project be deleted from the capital program because he did not want to build a facility funded only by the county.

Police officials were directed to come up with an alternative, such as building the facility jointly with the state. "It may be that there are no other alternatives and this may come back," Mr. Nourse said.

They were also directed to come up with an alternative to the proposed Emergency Vehicle Operations Training Facility, essentially a paved lot where officers could practice safe driving under various adverse conditions. In the tight fiscal climate, such a facility was not considered essential.

The board gave preliminary approval to expanding the Northern and Western District police stations at a cost of about $241,000 each. The only other police capital project proposed for the next fiscal year is repaving the parking lot at the Northern District at a cost of about $187,000.

Police officials are also seeking money in the coming years for new stations in the Eastern and Southern districts. Funding for the Southern District station is slated for the 1995 and 1997 fiscal years; the Eastern District station will be funded in the 1996 and 1998 fiscal years.

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