Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Despite community activists who fear the loss of quick fire response time, this weekend the Alexandria City Council approved plans for the developer of the Potomac Yard project to build a new $7 million fire station within the development. Potomac Yard Development LLC (a collaboration between Pulte Homes and Centex Homes) is pursuing a $700 million project over 165 acres along Route 1 just north of Alexandria with more than 1,973 condo and townhouse units, plus shops, offices and a 300-room hotel. The developer offered to build the new fire station for Alexandria after it was learned that the planned roads in the development might not be able to accommodate a turning fire truck (a nice way of saying that the trucks’ ladders would take swipes out of the sides of the deluxe new townhouses being built). The new fire station, because it will be built to the north and east of the current one, will have different approaches to the neighborhood that will help the turning radius of the trucks. In addition to the new station, the developer is also building 60 apartments above the station for low-income tenants. Residents have protested the plan for a new station, citing fears that moving fire trucks and staff from the station in nearby Del Ray to the new station across Route 1 would delay response times. However, city officials see this as a win-win situation, especially given the aging condition of the old station.