City approves firefighter grant and Powerscreen rezoning

City approves firefighter grant and Powerscreen rezoning
October 19
04:00 2017

The Winston-Salem City Council approved a grant for more firefighters and a zoning request from Powerscreen Mid-Atlantic during its Monday, Oct. 16, meeting.

The Winston-Salem Fire Department was awarded a $1.3 million Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response (SAFER) grant to hire 15 firefighters to improve its response time. The grant requires a local match of $813,000, which could be spread over three years, and for the city to spend approximately $90,000 for training and equipment this fiscal year.

Because of an error, staff did not get approval from the City Council prior to applying for the grant. This caused several council members to voice concerns about it during committee meetings, but in the end all but Jeff MacIntosh voted for it.

“We do not put a dollar before our citizens,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke.

MacIntosh said his vote was only objecting to the process followed on the grant, not its substance.

The new firefighters will be placed in companies stationed on Liberty Street, MLK, Jr. Boulevard, Waughtown Street, Peace Haven Road and Arbor Road. These five companies respond to two-thirds of all building fires in the city.

The Powerscreen rezoning also proved to be controversial in previous meetings. The company requested rezoning land at the corner of Graytuck Drive and High Point Road to allow for large construction equipment to be parked there. Neighbors voiced concerns about possible noise and dust from the site. However, none appeared at Monday’s meeting. Council Member James Taylor, who represents the Southeast Ward the land is in, said that was because the neighbors were OK with the concessions made by the company, including a larger buffer for the site, restricted hours of operation and restricting the uses of the site to just storing the equipment.

“I think they bent over backwards to try to meet the needs of the neighbors and the neighbors have recognized that,” said Taylor, who is also the Chronicle’s publisher.

The rezoning passed unanimously, as did the sale of the 5.31 acres of land, which is city property, to Powerscreen for $146,025, subject to upset bids. The appraised value of the land, which is a remnant of the Dell project, is $182,150. Powerscreen justified its lower offer citing access to the lot, topography, the inclusion of the buffer and the location of a stream. Powerscreen plans to hire 32 full time employees and build a new facility in an adjoining lot.

During the public comment session, Martha Cecil of Speak Out for Circus Animals again made a plea for Winston-Salem to join other cities around the country that have banned wild circus animals because of the way they’re treated and their potential danger to the public.

Taylor, who heads the Public Safety committee that initially considered the request in September 2016, said there weren’t enough votes to get it out of committee. He said the community was divided on the issue and he felt that it wasn’t necessary to take further action on it at this time.

About Author

Todd Luck

Todd Luck

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors