Proposed fire center worries homeowners

By F.T. Norton

ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com

Citing concerns about traffic, noise, view obstruction and danger to recreational users, some of the three dozen residents in attendance Monday night voiced their opposition to a proposed Bureau of Land Management interagency fire center at the corner of Edmonds Drive and Koontz Lane during a meeting with BLM and city representatives.

"It seems like " to be really up front and honest with you folks " the BLM and the city are cutting a deal and it was cut a long time ago," said Bill Davies, who owns a home on Conte Drive. "You showed no responsibility, sensitivity or compassion to us living there. ..."

In a proposal announced in February, the BLM hopes to build on seven acres of land that fronts Prison Hill on Edmonds Drive.

The intended facility will have a garage large enough to house three engines, a shed for storage of gasoline and oils for chainsaws, and a barracks with 10 bedrooms and a common area for housing an estimated 20 BLM hot shots who fight wildland fires in the region. The plans also include a parking lot for up to 20 civilian vehicles and a flag pole that would be lighted at night if the station is occupied and a flag is flying.

Supervisors Pete Livermore and Shelly Aldean attended the meeting, as well as Mayor Bob Crowell.

Molly Sinnott said she, too, felt as if there was underhanded dealings taking place behind closed doors.

"It's just sneaky, we are paying city staff salary and they don't feel an obligation to put an article in the paper. It's just wrong that we've spent all this time, we've paid your salaries for all this time, the people standing here going along with this because they have to," she said.

Sinnott said she was stunned to hear that out of all the federal land in the state, the BLM couldn't find a more suitable location for their fire center, especially with more open spaces in Storey, Lyon, Douglas and Washoe counties.

Sierra Front Field Manager Linda Kelly said at least six other locations were considered " four of the six were in Carson, and two were in Lyon County.

Sinnott also questioned whether the heavily traveled Edmonds Drive could handle the weight of the water tanker trucks, or if traffic, which runs at 45 to 50 mph, would be impacted.

All of the concerns expressed Monday were similar to those expressed at a planning commission meeting in February, Sinnott said. She said the fact that the BLM was still moving forward with the plans was disheartening.

"It's as if you're totally ignoring us," Sinnott said.

But Daniel Jacquet, community liaison for BLM, said the comments from February were taken into consideration when the plan was changed from 40 acres to seven acres.

"That seven acres was a result of listening to those comments. We are going to limit this thing to the hot shot barracks. It's not going to be bigger than that. It's not going to go on the north side of Koontz," he said.

He said the new plan dedicates area behind the seven acres for recreation.

Kelly said the next step in the process is to complete and open for comment an environmental assessment.

"Once we've taken the comments, we review the comments and we make a decision on whether or not we will move forward this project or not," she said.

Comments on the proposed facility can be sent to BLM, Carson City District, Attn.: Keith

Barker:

- 5665 Morgan Mill

Road, Carson City, NV

89701

- Fax: 885-6106

- E-mail: kdbarker @blm.gov

- Phone: 885-6120

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