Heidi Taylor, of Deerfield Valley Rescue, presented their plan to DRB members on Monday evening at a hearing on their conditional use permit application for a safety-related facility in the commercial/residential zoning district.
Taylor explained that the ambulance service’s current headquarters is on land leased from Southwestern Vermont Health Care, adjacent to SVMC’s Deerfield Valley Campus on Route 100 South. “We have another 27 years on our lease, but SVHC would like that land.”
SVHC plans to expand, building a larger facility at their current location. Taylor said DVR has entered into an agreement with SVHC to sell their building and terminate the lease early. “We also need to expand,” Taylor said.
Deerfield Valley Rescue is a nonprofit ambulance service covering eight towns, Taylor said, including Dover, Wilmington, Whitingham, Halifax, Searsburg, Somerset, and parts of Marlboro, West Wardsboro, and Stratton. “That’s 254 square miles of coverage,” Taylor added. “We have coverage by paid staff from 6 am to 6 pm, and our 18 volunteers cover nights.”
DRB member Fred Houston asked whether noise from sirens would be an issue at the facility. “Are sirens activated when you go out?”
Taylor said that siren use is dependent on traffic. “Where we are now, we usually don’t use the siren until we get to the stop sign (at the corner of Route 9 and Route 100 south). If there’s no traffic, we don’t use it.”
“So you’d use it when you hit Route 100 at Adams Drive or Stowe Hill?” asked Houston.
“Only if there was traffic,” Taylor said.
The operation is active or on call 24 hours a day, but Taylor said Deerfield Valley Rescue has been in contact with neighboring property owners, including Donny Lane, of Lane Plumbing, and Al Wurzberger, and none of the neighbors expressed concern about the DVR’s impending move.
Houston also asked about the number of vehicles that might be stored at the facility. “We have four ambulances,” Taylor said. “We usually keep two in Wilmington, one in Dover, and one in Jacksonville. Sometimes, in the spring, we let the fire department keep their brush truck in our building so the water tank doesn’t freeze.”
Houston asked if any exterior changes were planned for the building. Taylor said there were no changes in connection with the application under consideration. “If we do change something, it would be to take out one of the garage doors, but we’ll do that when we start doing our renovations.
Taylor said DVR does plan to change the signs on the property, essentially substituting Deerfield Valley Rescue signs for the existing Sprague Welding signs.
Board members said they hoped to have their decision made, and the permit issued, within days.
“When are you planning to move?” asked Houston.
“We’re hoping to move in the middle of November,” Taylor said. “The hospital would like us out of our building by December 1.”