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Board OKs subdivision of shelter land for fire station

June 10th, 2014 9:13 pm by Max Hrenda

Board OKs subdivision of shelter land for fire station

On June 3, the Johnson City/Washington County Animal Control Board agreed to subdivide 1.4 acres of land from the new shelter site.

Citing a desire to construct a 10th fire station in Johnson City, City Manager Pete Peterson asked the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Control Board for a favor.

On June 3, at Peterson’s request, the ACB voted unanimously in favor of a motion that permitted subdividing a 1.4-acre portion of the 6.6-acre tract of land on North Roan Street that was purchased for the county’s new animal shelter.

While the motion effectively subdivided the property, its maker, board member and County Commissioner Pat Wolfe, also moved that the ACB retain ownership of the 1.4 acres until its use was determined.

In purchasing the property, the city acquired a $1.5 million loan to cover costs. Although Peterson’s request was not included on the agenda for the ACB’s regularly scheduled meeting, he said the bank responsible for that loan wanted to know which parts of that property were included in the deal.

“The reason I bring it before you today is that, as a part of the appraisal process to get the loan closed, the bank needs to know if that’s going to be part of the collateral on the loan or not,” he said.

In addition to providing the bank with specifics, Peterson said the 1.4 acres would serve as an ideal location for an additional fire station.

“This particular location, or general area, is ground zero for where the next fire station needs to be built in Johnson City,” he said. “That general area ... is a gap in our coverage, and ... somewhere in that general location is where we need to get a new fire station.”

Peterson added, however, that, even if the board approved the subdivision, construction on a new fire station would not begin for another four to five years.

When asked for details regarding a new fire station, Johnson City Fire Chief Mark Scott deferred those questions to the city’s community relations office. After that office was contacted, calls made to Scott’s office went unanswered.

Before approaching the ACB with the request for the subdivision, Peterson said he asked some of the city’s engineers to apply the specifics of Fire Station No. 9, located at 105 Carroll Creek Road, to the 1.4 acres “in an effort to make sure that, if this is blessed and moved forward, that a fire station would fit on there and it would work before we get into all that.”

After Peterson made his request, board member and Johnson City Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin asked if excluding the 1.4 acres would jeopardize the likelihood of receiving the loan.

“They have said no,” Peterson said. “Obviously it’s going to depend on what the appraisal come back. The appraisal will be based on the value of the land as well as the value of the building that’s going to be constructed.

Peterson added that he believed the loan would remain secured because of the acquisition of an estimated construction cost from the shelter’s contractor, J.A. Street and Associates.

“Now that we know we’ve got a hard price from Street of $2.6 (million), and the value on the tax rolls today of the entire tract is $976,000, I would think we’re going to be more than safe on a $1 1/2 million loan,” Peterson said.

Before making his motion, Wolfe said that the board had previously discussed options for using that area of the property, which would not be used by the animal shelter.

“I think we talked about future possibilities for this up here anyway as long as we have what we needed to buy it for the site,” Wolfe said. “I’d be willing to move that we exclude this from the collateral, as long as it did not hamper the flow of the loan and the flow of the project, but retain ownership at this time.”

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