By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Friday, September 1, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- Two members of the Fire Station Committee are at odds with the rest of the committee over the size and scope of a new substation at Hampton Beach.
Former Fire Chief William "Skip" Sullivan and Richard Ballou have submitted their own "minority report" to selectmen in opposition to the final report submitted last week by the committee as a whole.
In its final report to selectmen, the majority recommended the new substation be constructed where the current one sits on Ashworth Avenue even though the Hampton Beach Village District owns that land and leases it to the town.
While Sullivan and Ballou agree in part with the committee's recommendation to construct it on precinct land, they think the building being proposed is too small. Ballou said the committee's final recommendation to construct a two-story substation with a 40-foot by 60-foot apparatus floor, two bays of 20 feet each and two doors will not meet future needs of the department.
"While the geographic location of the proposed fire station is correct from a response time standpoint, it is the wrong building," reads the minority report. "It is one that will not serve the fire protection and the emergency medical service functions for the town of Hampton in the immediate or long-range future."
Ballou, a former firefighter for the department, said the building should at least be 100-feet by 100-feet.
"I believe the site should be able to sustain a building in the future," Ballou said. "And I think the building (the majority of the committee is recommending) is too small for what the future may hold for Hampton. I'm talking about apparatus and manning for the future."
They are also recommending the building be constructed to the rear of the existing fire station, which is currently the Hampton Beach Village District's parking lot.
Tom Gillick, committee chairman, said the majority settled on the fire station size because it had the smallest footprint that Fire Chief Hank Lipe said he could live with.
Meanwhile, the Hampton Beach Village Precinct commissioners have already gone on the record stating they are against both proposals because it is the precinct's land.
Fred Rice, Hampton Beach Commission chairman, is upset the group did not have a representative on the committee.
"The committee was charged with finding a viable location," said Precinct Commissioner John Kane. "This is not a viable location to the precinct residents. They don't want it to be there and we don't want to lose that building."
Selectmen are expected to discuss the issue and the precinct's concerns at their Sept. 11 meeting.