Service delivery for West F’ville studied

Listening to a retreat presentation are (L-R at the table) Chief Scott Pitts, councilmen Scott Stacy, Jim Williams and Mickey Edwards and Mayor Greg Clifton. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The Fayetteville City Council retreat held Feb. 25 included a number of topics related to the recently annexed West Fayetteville area. One of those topics, presented by Police Chief Scott Pitts and Fire Chief Alan Jones, dealt with public safety service delivery in the 1,200-acre area.

Pitts in his report proposed a phased-in approach to address staffing and capital needs in the coming years. The proposal would add four patrol officers over the next three years to increase police presence and begin to address service delivery in the West Fayetteville area. The proposal includes adding one officer in the FY 2015 period that begins in August, one officer in FY 2016 and two officers in FY 2017.

Pitts said the department in anticipation of the growth coming to West Fayetteville has created a new patrol zone to encompass the entire 1,200 annexed acres.

The West Fayetteville area today requires minimal resources, Pitts said, but as the area continues to build-out the department anticipates a greater increase in call volume and traffic volume. Pitts recommended that service needs to the West Fayetteville area be evaluated regularly.

Jones in his report noted an interim plan for fire response and routine services.

Pertaining to fire response, Jones said the closest fire station is the county’s Station 11 on Flat Creek Trail. Jones said the county has agreed to continue to provide initial emergency response to West Fayetteville through Dec. 31, 2015 at no cost. The county will require compensation for those services beginning Jan. 1, 2016. Those services will be funded using a portion of the city’s property tax receipts generated in the West Fayetteville area.

Jones said compensation by the city will continue until Station 93 located at Veterans Parkway and Hood Road is constructed and operational.

Reporting on the interim plan for routine services, Jones said growth in West Fayetteville will significantly increase demand for services such as fire safety inspections, special permit requests, hydrant maintenance services and pre-fire planning activities. These services will be provided by existing city fire personnel except for fire permitting and the inspection of new construction which will be completed by Fayette County as outlined in the current intergovernmental agreement between the city and county.

Commenting on Station 93 and its planned completion by FY 2018, Jones said the city in the late 1990s identified the need for an additional station on the city’s growing west side. A site on Lester Road was secured and impact fees for the facility were collected since that time.

The annexation of the West Fayetteville area last year led to the selection of the current site on Veterans Parkway at Hood Road, Jones said.

Jones said once operational, three additional firefighters, or one per shift, must be added to existing staffing levels to operate the station at minimal levels.

In terms of equipment at the station, Jones said the purchase of an impact fee-eligible aerial apparatus is planned.

Station 93 is being designed to accommodate Fayetteville Police and, potentially, Fayette County emergency units, Jones said, adding that Fayette County is conducting studies to determine the feasibility and value of such an arrangement.

Jones said Station 93 will add capacity to the city’s overall existing fire protection system which will help maintain or improve city fire insurance rates.

West Fayetteville includes the 1,200 acres annexed in September. The area is situated largely on the north side of Ga. Highway 54 and extends from the area of Sandy Creek Road on the east to Tyrone Road on the west. The area also extends to the north at the intersection of Veterans Parkway and Sandy Creek Road. The West Fayetteville area includes the newly opened Pinewood Atlanta Studios.

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