Twin Lakes Fire Station zoning OK’d

‘We’re looking forward to better serving the people of Sherman Township.’

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Calhoun County Assistant County Engineer and Zoning Administrator Mike Moeller, right, gives a short history of the Cassens subdivision project at the Calhoun County Supervisors meeting Tuesday. The board voted to override a Zoning Board recommendation and changed the land use plan and zoning to allow the project to move forward.

ROCKWELL CITY — The Calhoun County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to overrule the county’s Planning and Zoning Board and pave the way for the construction of a new fire station in Twin Lakes on land owned by Dave Cassens.

The supervisors approved a proposed change to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and also changed the parcel of land’s zoning from Ag 2 to Res1.

Manson Fire Department Assistant Chief Dave Anderson was happy with the decision.

“I’m glad that they voted what I believe is the correct decision,” Anderson said. “We would like to move forward. We’re looking forward to better serving the people of Sherman Township.”

The Planning and Zoning Board had recommended rejecting the needed changes during its July 2 meeting.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Phyllis Menke, of Twin Lakes, speaks during the Calhoun County Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning during a hearing on the Zoning Board’s recommendation for a subdivision at Twin Lakes that would allow a fire station to be built. Dave Anderson, assistant Manson fire chief, listens at left.

Supervisor Mike Cooper had conducted a poll of residents around Twin Lakes and in Sherman Township.

“Of the 119 surveys that were returned,” Cooper said. “49 want to proceed as planned, 35 want the fire shed with its size reduced and 35 don’t want the shed at all.”

The size of the structure was one of the issues debated at the meeting Tuesday.

“To satisfy the maximum number I need to insist on 100 feet by 60 feet,” Cooper said. “I think that’s a reasonable compromise, I have to follow what the people told me.”

Cassens had submitted a site plan through his attorney, Nick Cochrane, that was shown to the supervisors at the meeting.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Attorney Nick Cochrane, who represents land owner Dave Cassens, shows the Calhoun County Supervisors a proposed plan for Cassens’ subdivision. The board approved a zoning change and master plan change to allow the subdivision to move forward.

His proposal was 125 feet by 55 feet.

“Would you accept a 100-foot limit?” Cooper asked.

“I gave concessions everywhere,” Cassens said. “You’re sticking me with rules nobody else had. 125 feet, that’s my bottom line.

“We started at 300 feet,” Anderson said. “It’s gone down quite a ways.”

Had the board voted to accept the Zoning Board’s decision, Anderson said the fire station would have been off the table. He said the cost of a different site would have been prohibitive due to various engineering costs and other issues including his own checkbook.

“I’m personally paying for a storage building for the fire trucks,” he said. “If this doesn’t go through we’re going to sell the trucks. I’m not paying anymore.”

Manson Firefighter Josh Waller talked about why having the station at Twin Lakes is a benefit.

“At a house fire we’re running three lines,” he said. “That’s using 450 to 750 gallons of water a minute. In a best case scenario, it’s a five minute round trip to fill a tanker. Realistically, it’s closer to 10. Ten minutes is a long time when your house is on fire.”

With the change in the plan approved and the zoning changed Cassens will now work with the Calhoun County engineer, the supervisors and the Zoning Board to develop an acceptable plan which will include a decision on the building’s size.

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