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Update on New Fire Station

Planning Commission completes its regular meeting in 20 minutes.

Alexandria Planning Commission, prior to its Nov. 9 meeting, received a complete update on the proposed combination fire station/affordable housing structure planned as part of the Potomac Yard project. The proposal is to come before the Commission on Feb. 6, 2007 at its regularly scheduled public hearing.

"There has been a lot of work done on this proposal since the last time the Commission was briefed in October. This work session is to bring you up to date on those activities," Jeffrey Farner, division chief, Alexandria Planning & Zoning Department, told Commission members.

The five story building is proposed to be located in the southwestern corner of Landbay G of the Potomac Yard development on a 46,595 square foot site. The first floor will contain a 19,620 square feet fire station with either three or four bays. The four top floors will contain one, two and three bedroom affordable housing units.

Below ground will be 142 parking spaces for both residents and fire department personnel. Overall the usable portion of the building will be 60 feet in height with a 90 foot clock tower, according to Farner. "Design of the fire station clearly distinguishes it as a civic building," he explained.

There will be two courtyards on top of the fire station for open space, plus a deep center set back. The building will be located across from a planned community park area. It will be bordered by the development's new Main Street and Jefferson Davis Highway, Route 1.

Access and egress to the fire station will be located on the East side, according to the P&Z's presentation. This is designed to keep it separate from resident access to the building.

Being financed by the developers of Potomac Yard at an estimated cost of $6 million, present plans call for a three bay station. If a fourth bay is developed that would be paid for by the City, according to Alexandria Fire Chief Gary Mesaris. It's estimated cost would be $1 million but it would not change the building's basic footprint.

IN ADDITION TO the affordable housing units, the building will also contain an 800 square feet area for "community space," according to Helen McIlvaine, deputy director, Alexandria Office of Housing. Estimated completion of the building is mid 2009 if approved by both the Planning Commission and City Council.

During its regular meeting, which lasted only 20 minutes, following the work session, the Commission unanimously approved a request to operate home child day care at 5355 Truman Avenue and a child care center/private school at 1400 Duke St. by Shiloh Baptist Church.