Greenfield Planning Board sends recommendation to ZBA on fire station plans

Staff Writer

GREENFIELD — The Planning Board has forwarded a positive recommendation to the Zoning Board of Appeals on the application by Pacheco Ross Architects for the property on Main Street near Coombs Avenue, where the new fire station is slated to be constructed.

Speaking on behalf of the city, Katrina Pacheco of Pacheco Ross Architects presented the plans for the new fire station, noting requests for variances to reduce the 8-foot landscape buffer requirement along Coombs Avenue to 0 feet, and to reduce the open space requirement from 15% to 7%.

“It’s a great location with access, but it is very tight on the site,” Pacheco explained to Planning Board members Thursday evening.

Jon Allard of Fuss & O’Neill drew the board members’ attention to the Coombs Avenue side of the building plan, where there is currently a buffer of less than 1 foot.

“As Katrina mentioned earlier, Coombs Avenue is a dead end … and not many vehicles and pedestrians are down this way,” Allard said.

He noted there is a landscape buffer between the property and the multi-family home at 1 Coombs Ave.

Pacheco added that a generator on that side of the building also pushes parking closer to Coombs Avenue, “hence why we’re looking for relief on that side.”

The second variance relates to the open space requirement.

“I think we’re at about 7%, and the requirement is 15%,” Allard said.

Planning Board members had a few questions for Pacheco, including how engines would navigate the entry and exit of the property, and what materials were being used on the structure.

“Those vehicles on the left-hand bay, they have to come in and back up,” Planning Board Chair Charles Roberts said. “That’s going to be a four-point turn to get into that space, right?”

Pacheco said Fire Chief Robert Strahan is aware.

“He knows that depending on the type of vehicle he’s using for response, he has to do a bit of jockeying,” she said.

Ultimately, the plan received a unanimous positive recommendation.

“I just wanted to say in a very tight budget and a very restricted space, great job,” Planning Board member Nathanial Hussey said. “This is not an easy task to put everything our Fire Department needs … while keeping a budget in the front of your brain. You’re trying to thread a needle here; my hat’s off to you.”

The overall $17 million budget for the fire station includes $2 million for the construction of the temporary fire station on Hope Street, in addition to construction for the new station, professional fees and contingency funds. The temporary fire station, which the department moved into in September, is expected to be used for two years.

The ZBA plans to hold a remote public hearing on May 12 regarding Pacheco Ross Architects’ application for site plan approval. The meeting, set for 7 p.m., can be accessed via Webex at

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