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Town annexes property for future fire station over Jenkins Road residents’ appeals
by David Leone
WAKE FOREST — There must have been talking points.
A half dozen neighborhood residents voiced objections to the Wake Forest Fire Department request to annex 1505 and 1509 Jenkins Road for a future station during Tuesday night’s commissioners’ meeting.
Several used the same language in their objection, referring to the nonprofit fire department as a “private corporation,” “private firm,” and “privately owned fire station.”
Their contention was that the town doesn’t run the fire department, but pays into it through taxes and that a fifth fire station is neither needed by the town, nor the community it’s intended for.
Residents, including some from Canonbie, repeated earlier concerns about quality of life (from repeated siren blasts), watershed protection, the town’s encroachment on a rural neighborhood and the allegation that the issue was decided before public input could be made.
“This is not the best spot for the firehouse,” one resident summed up. “This is smack dab in the middle of a residential, beautiful area.”
Wake Forest Fire Chief Ron Early defended the request, noting that though the average response time to neighborhood homes is within acceptable limits, firefighters don’t always arrive quickly.
He said the location is in the center of a north-south, east-west call area and is to the west of Capital Boulevard, which one day will be made into a limited access expressway.
Commissioners approved the annexation unanimously. Before the station can be built, another public hearing will be held for the plan.
Commissioners also heard from the public about the draft budget, approved the site plan for Wake Electric’s downtown building project, approved a contract to extend the Forestville Road sidewalk and Crenshaw multi-use path and agreed to raise the water/sewer rate 7 percent, which is mandated by the city of Raleigh.
A closed session to discuss with the town attorney a potential purchase of land was continued to next Wednesday, following the town board’s 5:30 p.m. work session.