With three members absent, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night moved forward a proposal by the to expand its fire station to its July 17 meeting for action.
The fire department previously obtained boundary line adjustments a rezoning to accommodate its plan to reconstruct the living quarters and main firehouse on the 3.17-acre site on Ashburn Road. The new two-story 36,083-square-foot will slightly increase the footprint of the current 17,535-square-foot building. Founder’s Hall will remain as it is.
The community organized the company—Company No. 6—in 1944. For the first years, volunteers trained and housed the fire equipment in a cow barn and farm shed. In 1947, the first section of the existing building was constructed.
The living space now has five bedroom—at least one of which has six beds, stacked in bunks—and one bathroom. The kitchen/dining room doubles as the conference room. A weight room has been set up in a garage bay. There are other structures on the site, including a metal garage, a monopole and communications station.
“This is a facility that’s definitely in need of an upgrade,” Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) said.
Williams represents the district where the station is located, while Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) represents the district across the street.
“The current facility is substandard. It is grossly overcrowded,” Buona said. “Frankly, if it were a public facility you probably would shut it down because the fire marshal wouldn’t like how crowded it was.”
Carl Cowan, president of the fire company, said the building simply has not been able to keep up with the growth of the department.
“The Ashburn community has grown steadily for years and our service has grown right along with it,” he said. “If disaster strikes our community we have 130 first responders living and working locally whose goal it is to help. However the facility itself can no longer support the crews, and a renovation is needed.”
The volunteers plan to pay for the project, estimated to cost $4.5 million, with money that has been raised and by obtaining a loan from the county’s fire and rescue program.
“This is a good example of how to do upgrades. They’re doing private fundraising, through pancake breakfasts, through outreach,” Williams said. “Public safety is a core government service. That being said, these guys have really stepped up and have enough resources where they can go and try to raise $4.5 million, almost $5 million through private efforts. So please let us know what we can help you do to advance those fundraising activities.”
Among the proposed conditions of approval is the restriction of outdoor social activities and outdoor training exercises from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The fire company has requested some zoning modifications, including the ability to retain the existing privacy fence and trees as buffers instead of required plantings.
Besides the fire station, a garage and a telecommunications facility are currently on the site, which is bordered by the to the north, the and parking lot to the south, Ashburn Road to the west and homes in Ashburn Village to the east.
No one spoke against the station during the hearing, which was recommended for approval by the planning commission and the county planning staff.