Township-hired architects made changes to preliminary site plans for a fire barn/township hall at the northeast corner of Fruitport Road and M-104. These changes include moving the fire barn portion of the building further east to allow a wider turning area for fire trucks, more buffering along lot lines and a repositioned dumpster.
All plans are preliminary at this point, and no cost estimates are available, Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said.
He said the public building would generate “significantly less intense traffic than most commercial uses” and provide a nice transition between the fast-food restaurant, gas station and grocery store to the east.
Gallagher noted that about 15 employees would be on site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors would be scarce except when property taxes are due, the manager said.
“I hope the Planning Commission will really start to think about would a municipal office use be appropriate for that site,” Gallagher said. “We want to get a sense where this is headed so we can report back to our board.”
Commissioners listened and asked questions, but expressed the same concerns they had at their October meeting — building height and location.
The proposed brick building would stand 42 feet at its highest point, according to architects from CR Architecture and Design, an Ohio-based firm that specializes in fire facilities.
Initial plans call for a two-story building with a third-story portion for a meeting room.
According to architects, the building would have a 35-foot setback from M-104 and serve as a “gateway” to the community.
Commissioner Chip Bohnhoff isn't sure he wants that kind of initial image.
“Why do we want a giant building on the edge of our community?” Bohnhoff said. “It's a very large building on a very prominent corner.”
The township would close the 148th Avenue and Buchanan Street fire stations if plans proceed for a new fire barn at Fruitport Road and M-104 — a location Sipe said is centralized and key for rapid response times on the east side of the Township.
A station at 174th Avenue serves the west side.
To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.