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Yarmouth panel: Home plan best suits Cousins Island fire station

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Yarmouth panel: Home plan best suits Cousins Island fire station

YARMOUTH — A proposal to demolish the Cousins Island fire station to build a cottage received the support Tuesday of a citizens advisory committee. 

Town councilors will review the committee's choice on Aug. 21 and decide whether to accept it.

Two proposals were submitted after the Town Council decided to sell the fire station and set a July 31 deadline for bids.

The Cousins Island Fire Station Committee on Tuesday morning backed a plan submitted by Deb and Dan Sheehan of Yarmouth. The couple offered $120,000 to demolish the fire station and build a single-family cottage-style home.

"I think the community, especially the neighborhood (around the fire station), expressed interest in the cottage plan," Town Manager Nat Tupper said.

The other proposal, submitted by Oakley Dyer of Yarmouth, offered $75,000 for the property with the intent to use it as a personal storage unit.

Tupper said the financial difference between the two bids played a factor in the panel's decision.

The property at 373 Cousins St. was unused as a fire station for the past 30 years. It opened in 1958, and has recently been used by the town for storage. The fire station is a one-story masonry structure on a slab of about 1,800 square feet. It has 0.29 acres of land, and is being sold as is.

The council decided to accept proposals for the property rather than list it for sale because it wanted a say in what would happen to the building. Tupper said he sees no reason why councilors won't accept the committee's recommendation.

According to the Sheehan's proposal, the home's design would be in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood. It would have a front porch and a single-car garage, three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

The committee also recommended the council adopt a contract zone agreement for setback relief requested by the Sheehans. They're seeking a 2-foot adjustment for an overhang on the north side of the proposed home, 10 feet for a porch on the Cousins Street side of the building, and 8 feet for a porch on the Almonte Avenue side.

An abutter of the property, Paula Groves, wrote to Tupper saying she was in favor of the cottage because it would be a residence. She said she was very much against the station being used for storage.

"It is not in the best interest financially to the town," Groves said of the storage proposal. "And it does not improve my neighborhood. Also, visually and aesthetically it has the potential of being an eyesore since there is no guarantee how the property will be maintained."

Committee member and fire station neighbor Donna Felker mirrored Groves comment about finances, and said she believes the cottage will benefit the town financially.

"The home better fits the neighborhood and it benefits the town with increased tax revenue," Felker said. 

The committee that chose the Sheehan's cottage proposal included Councilors Pat Thompson and Randall Bates, Cousins Island Littlejohn Island Improvement Association representative Susie Kendeigh, Seashore Land Association representative Mike Gentile, Planning Board member Stacey Stevens, Fire Chief Mike Robitaille, Felker, and Tupper. 

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.