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Fire chief: Yarmouth will need new gear, truck

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Fire chief: Yarmouth will need new gear, truck

YARMOUTH — Town councilors last week heard reports on long-range capital needs of the Fire and Rescue Department, on the Resource Protection District and on the preliminary draft of the 2011-2015 Capital Improvement Plan.

Fire and rescue Chief Byron Fairbanks told the Nov. 19 council workshop that new firefighter turnout gear was needed for the nearly 100 members of the department. The jackets and pants cost about $1,700 and with equipment, could cost about $3,600 per person.

Fairbanks also told councilors a new fire truck would be needed soon, because the current truck from 1983 has a failing body.

"The engine is fine, the transmission is good, but the body is gone," he said. A new truck could cost about $425,000. In addition, Fairbanks said a residential space will be needed at the North Street fire station to accommodate students and full-time employees.

"These are a few items to think about, but I am not asking for money now," he said. "We have some funds, but not all of it."

In other business, Town Manager Nat Tupper gave councilors a presentation on the Resource Protection District and outlined ways to incorporate both growth and restriction into the area.

He said the town needs to update its maps, should address definitions of streams, rivers and wetland areas, and identify where within the Shoreland Overlay District residential, commercial and maritime development are possible.

In addition, Tupper said the town should revisit its stance against contract and conditional zoning. He said although the practice is not permitted, there have been more than a few instances where it has been allowed, and the results have been successful.

Tupper listed nearly half a dozen projects where the zoning has been used, including Even Keel Marina, Intermed at Mercy Hospital, Sweetsir Farm, Yarmouth Veterinarian Center, North Yarmouth Academy's Science and Fine Arts buildings and affordable housing on John Howland Drive.

"These are all conditional zoning projects," he said. "And they all went very well." 

Other projects include the Habitat for Humanity project on Drinkwater Road and the West Main Street Schools.

"This is an opportunity to put the issues in front of us," Tupper said. "It is not a proposal. It is a report so we can see which direction we want to take."

The council will discuss the preliminary 2011-2015 CIP at the next operations meeting and will then pass it to the Planning Board for comment and review.

Tupper said many capital expenses have been identified, but not many are funded.

The next meeting of the Town Council will be Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Log Cabin.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net