Jeffco Planning Commission OKs site plan for fire training facility

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By Sandy Barnes

The Jeffco Planning Commission on Wednesday night approved a site plan for a fire training facility at Evergreen Fire Station 2 in Bergen Park.

Before voting 6-1 to approve, board members listened to more than two hours of testimony from residents, most of whom voiced strong opposition to the burn building. Some Evergreen residents did speak in support of it. Bergen Meadow Elementary School principal Peggy Miller also told the board that the school district did not see the facility as a concern, and that she had heard comments about it from only two parents.

During the review of the plan, Planning Commission members asked questions about the site choice and potential safety issues.

Fire Chief Mike Weege said that purchasing property would be very expensive and that other fire district property was closer to homes than the Bergen Park site at Station 2.

Weege also said that live burning would be contained in the facility using a mineral-oil-based product to create smoke. An industrial hygienist evaluated smoke products and recommended that the oil-based material be used, he said.

While expressing some hesitancy about the project, members said they thought the use of the fire district property was appropriate. Planning Commission member James Price, an Evergreen resident, said it seemed consistent to build the facility at the fire station property where training has been taking place.

Member Tim Rogers cast the dissenting vote, saying the facility lacked compatibility with the surrounding area.

The fire training facility site plan does not require approval by the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners.

Residents opposed to the facility have initiated a recall of Evergreen Fire Protection District board members who recently voted to move forward with the project.