City denounces BLM fire station plans | NevadaAppeal.com

City denounces BLM fire station plans

Dave Frank
dfrank@nevadaappeal.com

The Carson City Board of Supervisors denounced plans Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to build a fire station complex on the city’s south side.

Four of five supervisors present voted to pass Supervisor Pete Livermore’s resolution opposing the location of the fire station near residential and open space areas. Residents say the complex will limit access to the Prison Hill open space area and doesn’t belong near a neighborhood of about 300 homes.

The city has no official power over the BLM’s final decision at the end of the month whether to build the complex. Supervisors say they plan to talk to Nevada congressmen, senators and the U.S. Department of the Interior, which runs BLM.

“We are here today to look at a resource the community has spoken numerous and many times about promoting and protecting,” Livermore said.

BLM wants to build four buildings on seven to eight acres of its land at the base of the Prison Hill open space area, east of the intersection of South Edmonds Drive and Koontz Lane. The bureau would use the complex with the U.S. Forest Service to fight seasonal wildfires in Northern Nevada.

The 4,200-square-foot to 6,600-square-foot buildings would be used for offices, training, housing 20 seasonal firefighters and storage of two to three fire engines.

Linda Kelly, the BLM Sierra Front Field Office manager in Carson City, told supervisors they shouldn’t make a resolution until they see all the comments collected.

She said she’s received comments supporting the location of the complex. The land has the infrastructure needed for a complex that will help keep the city safe, she said.

“Strategically, it makes sense to us,” she said.

Public comment ends June 29 on the BLM’s environmental assessment of the land. Kelly will make the final decision about the location of the complex after that. The assessment by the BLM Sierra Front Field Office said the complex will have no significant impact on people’s lives in the area.

Supervisor Shelly Aldean said she has problems with the process of choosing the site. The BLM shouldn’t be allowed to do its own assessment of the land, evaluate the assessment itself and make its own determination on the site based on its own evaluation, she said.

The agency shouldn’t be allowed to build the complex without the city’s approval either, she said.

“This kind of smacks of arbitrariness and capriciousness only because it’s allowed by law,” she said.

At public meetings about the complex in February and April, several residents came to criticize the project.

Supervisor Molly Sinnot said the complex is an “absolute insult to Carson City,”

She said if the BLM needed more space, they should have already added it to existing facilities.

“Their lack of planning should not be allowed to become a problem or eyesore for the rest of Carson City,” she said.