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GEMS, Town Get OK for Temporary Replacement of King Street Station

Planning & Zoning Commission OKs plans that must include plantings to screen temporary housing trailer from neighbor.

 

Greenwich Emergency Medical Service will be able to replace its condemned King Street station with a temporary housing trailer for the crew assigned to respond to medical emergencies in the town's northwest corner.

On Tuesday evening, the Greenwich Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a plan to place the trailer—which contain 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and living area, after the presentation by Alan Monelli, the town's buildings and facilities director.

According to Monelli, the town must demolish the present facility because of long-term deterioration and damage caused by the Oct. 29 landfall of Hurricane Sandy. Rain damage caused a load-bearing wall to buckle, prompting the condemnation by the town's building department.

Earlier this month the town received a zoning variance to demolish the current two-story brick home and temporarily replace it with the mobile home. Monelli said the trailer would be used while the town determines where it will locate a permanent facility. Since the building at 1327 King St. was condemned this  month, the Medic 4 ambulance crew has been housed in quarters at Camp Seton, the Greenwich Boy Scout facility on Riversville Road.

Because of increased camp activities during the spring and summer, it wouldn't be prudent to keep Medic 4 at the camp because of safety issues, Monelli said.

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Resident Enrico Genovese complained of contiuous backup-beepr sounds and idling diesel engines at the site since it moved there about a decade ago. "This is not going to happen," Genovese said, followed by a long stare down with the commission.

Genovese also criticized the town for allowing the two-story brick house to become dilapidated saying there was little maintenance since the town purchased it.

"It looks like a pigeon coop. I paid $3 million to to build my  house. I pay $30,000 in taxes," Genovese said. I live necxt a pigeon coop and now you want to put a trailer there. That's not going to happen."

Genovese also told the commission, "I don't think that's right. This is not Lousianna. This is not Georgia. This is not Mississippi. This is Greenwich, Connecticut."

He added, "I want the EMS to be there... knock it down" and "build a new facility."

First Selectman Peter Tesei said the town is negotiating with a private landowner to build a new fire station in the northwest corner of town, however, it was doubtful GEMS would be included in that plan. Monelli said the town purchased the property with the intent of razing the house and building a new station to house fire and EMS crews. However, wetlands and septic issues have prevented that plan from proceeding.

In the interim, Monelli and the town agreed with the commission to install plantings on the 1327 King St. site to shield the site and trailer from Genovese's property. The work, including demolition of the existing building condemned by the town's building department, probably won't begin until money is available in the 2013-14 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

A row of trees 10 to 12-feet tall, such as arborvitae, would be planted and the driveway on the site would be reconfigured so there is  access from the adjacent town-owned golf course, eliminating the need for the ambulance to back up and sound its beeper system which Genovese said was annoying.

Cost estimates of the project were not provided at the meeting. 

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