The Pleasant Valley Fire Department is one step closer to a permanent home for a new fire station.
The Lancaster County Council approved first reading Monday night of an ordinance that would rezone seven acres on Possum Hollow Road from residential to commercial. As part of that rezoning, the property owner is offering two acres to the Pleasant Valley Fire Department for a new fire station.
Right now, the Pleasant Valley fire station sits on leased land on Hwy. 160 East, a few miles from Hwy. 521. When Hwy. 160 is widened, the land will be overtaken by the road and the fire station will have to be moved.
The council also approved purchasing property at the corner of Harrisburg and Barberville roads to be used for a Pleasant Valley Fire Department substation. The property will cost $85,000. The owner of the property has offered to take the property's value beyond $85,000 as a charitable tax donation. The cost of the property will be taken from the Pleasant Valley Fire District budget, which is funded by a $75 fee per home approved by voters in January 2006.
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Seven residents spoke out against the Possum Hollow Road rezoning, saying that commercial property wouldn't be appropriate in the mostly residential area. But the council approved the first reading of the rezoning request and asked that the owner of the property and the residents get together and discuss the plans for the property and see if they could reach an agreement.
If the rezoning isn't approved and the land for the fire station isn't offered, Captain Stephen Blackwelder of the Pleasant Valley Fire Department said he isn't sure where the department will search next for land.
The Harrisburg Road property planned for a fire department substation isn't suitable for use as the primary fire station, he added, because for the department to maintain or improve its Insurance Service Office rating, the primary station has to be within approximately a half mile of its current location.
"We've exhausted all of our possibilities," Blackwelder said.