Plans to repurpose an existing building on Delaware’s east side for the city’s fifth fire station continue to progress after the Delaware Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit and development plan exemption for the future Station 305 during Wednesday’s meeting.
Located at 680 Sunbury Road, the 29,000-square-foot site was formerly home to American Freight. Delaware City Council approved the purchase of the property in December 2021 for $3,995,000 using dollars from the city’s Fire and EMS Fund. Last March, the city authorized the Tri-Township Fire Department to use the site as a temporary home while the Delaware Fire Department (DFD) planned its renovations for Station 305.
Station 305 will represent the city’s first designed fire station within an existing structure. At the time of the site purchase, the city anticipated saving upwards of $13 million by renovating the existing facility rather than building an entirely new station. Most of the work to modify the site will be done in its interior, including a complete renovation of the building to provide office space, sleeping quarters, a kitchen, storage space, and more.
With the addition of Station 305, DFD will be able to add significantly to its coverage of the city’s east side. City Development Planner Anna Kelsey noted during the meeting the desired response time for Delaware’s fire and EMS is six minutes, and the area that would be served by Station 305 currently falls outside that response window.
“This site was selected due to its location in the far east side focus area of the city,” said Kelsey. “This was actually designated as a goal of the Delaware Together Comprehensive Plan. This would only be the second fire station on the east side of the city, east of U.S. Route 23. The only other one is Station 304 down by the communities at Glenross, so obviously that’s a pretty big area that does not currently have a lot of service, especially as the area continues to grow and develop. It’s important that we get additional capacity.”
Station 305 will also serve as the headquarters for the city’s fire and EMS services, taking the administrative offices and responsibilities from the aging and cramped Station 301. “This will allow some of the staff members who are currently scattered throughout the city to all end up in one central location,” Kelsey said.
Tim Pyle, who is currently serving as the city’s interim fire chief, identified the improved response times and centralized location for the department’s administrative work as two of the most significant reasons for needing the station. However, he added that the 100-seat auditorium included in the planned renovations will also be important as a resource for training classes and public events that require a larger meeting space than what is currently available.
The exterior site work proposed includes the extension of Mill Run Loop, which will then serve as the primary access point for fire and other safety apparatus, as well as an expanded and reconfigured parking area, new apparatus bay, and detention basin. The existing western access drive on Sunbury will be maintained as a right-in, right-out drive, while the eastern access drive will be removed.
The city has determined the exterior site work is a “small, incidental construction which does not result in an adverse impact to the site or surroundings,” according to documents for the requests. As a result, the plans are permitted to be reviewed through a development plan exemption rather than a full development plan review.
The requests will now go to the Delaware City Council for final approval at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, April 10.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.