Neighbors oppose police, fire training facility - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Neighbors oppose police, fire training facility

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Murfreesboro residents fought back at the last minute when they learned about their new neighbor, and city leaders listened.

Murfreesboro resident Larry Lewis said it's already hard to deal with dump trucks on a two-lane road going to and from what residents call "Mount Trashmore," the nearby landfill.

"All day long, back and forth," Lewis said.

Lewis moved off Central Valley Road eight years ago for the scenic view.

"You look out the front door, it's pretty out there," he said.

Now, the city is hoping to build a training facility for police and fire right across the street from Lewis' home.

"Enough is enough," Lewis said. "We've had enough for a while. We just don't want any more of that."

The training facility would sit on part of 460 acres owned by the city. It was once Coleman Farm.

"It is a full-blown facility chock full of all types of moving parts and elements that concern our neighborhood," another nearby resident said.

The city hopes to build a rifle range, a two-block mock street for police simulation training, a dog training facility and kennel, a diving pond, and a 55-foot burn tower for the fire department.

"A live firing range is what got our attention," the resident said. "They're going to be using high-powered rifles."

Dozens of homeowners from the Liberty Station and Liberty Valley subdivisions packed the Murfreesboro Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Wednesday. They said they are also concerned about traffic, property values and their overall quality of life.

"We want to be good neighbors," said Jim Crumley, assistant city manager of Murfreesboro. "We've been designing this for a year. That's why you see on that site plan there are no facilities within 200 feet of the roadway."

Homeowners convinced board members the project is not right for their neighborhood.

"It's almost black and white to me that this is not the place for this particular use," said John Rodgers, board chairman. "I regret having to say that because I really want to support this development."

The Board of Zoning Appeals wanted to approve a 300-foot community tower, but they also voted to defer indefinitely a special use permit that would have allowed the facility to be built.

The board advised the city to hold a town hall meeting and then hold a public hearing before they came back to the board again seeking the special use permit.

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