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Talks of Firehouse on Kitchawan Ignite Yorktown Meeting

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Talks of a new firehouse installed on Old Kitchawan and Kitchawan Road heated up the Tuesday night Yorktown Planning Board meeting between neighbors of the proposed site and presenters.

The project, primarily presented by Al Capellini and Karl Ackermann, of Sullivan Architects, is a two-story building that measures about 3,100 square feet on a 6-acre parcel. While the first story will contain two bays, a day room and wash room, Capellini explained that the second floor of the building would be used only for storage. The fire and rescue station would be a part of the Yorktown Heights Fire District.

Tensions in the room rose when Marilyn Ford, an attorney representing Lois Stephens, who has supposedly resided directly across from the location where the fire station is being proposed for the past 40-years, said her client was “vehemently” opposed to the project. Ford said Stephens’ main issues with the firehouse include its nearly 2-mile proximity to another firehouse, the noise it would create, the taxes, which she considers would be spent on a redundant project, and the fact that she said she had not properly been notified about prior hearings about the project.

“She sees no reason for this project to go right up in her front yard,” Ford said. “The gentlemen talked about mitigation. The way to mitigate this is to kill it on demand. And she is demanding, she is requesting, she is pleading, she is begging you not to impose this on her at this time at this state in her life.”

Despite some guidance from the board to stop the meeting from becoming a back and forth between the presenters and residents, it soon became a back and forth between Capellini, Ford, and John Sullivan, of the architectural firm presenting the project.

Capellini addressed the questions raised by Ford when explaining that the firehouse located 2 miles away belongs to the Millwood Fire Department.

“It is not the routine business of a fire district to cover another fire district. We have separate taxpayers, and separate responsibilities,” Capellini said. He stressed that in the event of a fire, while Millwood would respond, it is not their sole responsibility.

“Horses and human beings all need to be protected, and if a siren has to go off occasionally for that protection, well that’s the way it has to happen,” he said.

Ackermann, during the initial presentation explained to the board that there would be a total of eight trees planted to act as buffer between the neighboring properties and the firehouse. Although the presenters were unable to locate where Stephen’s house was at the time of the meeting, Sullivan told the board they would install more trees as a buffer if they determined the firehouse was visible from her home.

The board voted unanimously to close the public hearing on the site plan, and written comment period is open until August 22.

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