Tee Em Up, trucks get green light in Gray

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GRAY — The Town Council has authorized the purchase of a nearly $1.3 million firetruck, approved spending $375,000 for three new public works dump trucks, and given a final signoff on a zoning change that will allow a former golf complex to be redeveloped as a 10-lot commercial project.

During it’s Sept. 4 meeting, the Gray Town Council voted 5-0 to accept a recommendation to move forward with a $1,294,844 bid from manufacturer Seagrave Fire Apparatus to build the town’s new ladder truck.

The council appointed members to a Ladder Truck Committee last summer after town voters approved creating a $500,000 reserve account for the truck by a vote of 402-304. Voters approved an additional $500,000 for the truck in this June’s budget vote.

The current vehicle, known as Truck 44, is a 1996 model built by three different manufacturers. It features a 75-foot aerial platform, a 500-gallon water tank and carries other equipment such as ground ladders, according to the committee report.

The committee looked at several options – including continuing with the current truck as is, making repairs to it, and sharing a truck with a neighboring town – before settling on its recommendation to purchase a new one.

Gray Fire Rescue Director Kurt Elkanich suggested the town explore selling the current ladder truck outright before deciding whether to trade it in with Seagrave for $25,000.

The Seagrave bid was the most expensive of three that the town received for the new truck. An analysis of the bids included as part of the council agenda packet acknowledged the price tag but found the cost to be justified and noted it is below the more than $1.37 million the town had budgeted for the truck.

“The committee set out to find a truck that that would be exactly like what the department currently operates, with modern updates and a 100-foot platform. Seagrave can give the town exactly that,” the analysis said.

The council voted 5-0 to approve the purchase of three new public works dump trucks for a total of $374,080 to replace three vehicles that are being traded in by the department. Two of the new trucks from manufacturer Western Star Trucks will have plow equipment.

The council also gave its final approval on a re-zoning request from Tee Em Up Inc. to allow for a 10-lot commercial development at the former driving range on Portland Road.

The Council voted 4-1 to approve the re-zoning, with Sharon Young the lone no vote. This change is slated to take effect Oct. 4.

The roughly 37-acre property is split in the town’s commercial zone and rural residential and agricultural zone. The developers asked for, and the council approved, the rezoning of nearly 6.5 acres from rural residential and agricultural to commercial.

After unsuccessful shots at senior housing and mixed-use proposals for the former driving range, developers are looking to move forward with a Planned Unit Development, or PUD, at the property.

As outlined in Gray’s zoning ordinance, a PUD is a type of commercial development that allows the Planning Board to reduce frontage, setback and minimum lot area requirements by up to 50 percent. The stated purposes of a PUD include promoting aesthetically pleasing commercial development, development that reserves natural features and prevents soil erosion, efficient land use and a more preferable environment than what might be allowed under the strict application of other zoning ordinance sections.

PUDs are not allowed in the town’s rural residential and agricultural zone – hence the need for the zoning change.

“There’s been a lot of discussion before this, but I haven’t heard anything new come up,” said Councilor Dan Maguire before the vote.

Town Manager Deborah Cabana also told the council Tuesday night that it will need to appoint a new SAD 15 board member to represent Gray on the School Board after Richard Barter stepped down. Cabana said Barter “has moved out of town” and that the deadline for any interested Gray residents to apply for the role is Friday, Sept. 7.

She said the council will make the SAD 15 appointment at its next meeting Sept. 18.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

The Gray Town Council approved a re-zoning change from Tee Em Up Inc. this week.

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