LANSING-Town aldermen have an important decision to make in the near future.
They can follow the example set by the the county’s other two municipalities – Jefferson and West Jefferson – in establishing a primary fire district or they can let the county’s board of commissioners make that decision for them.
Jonathan Stansberry, of the county’s building and inspections office, impressed upon the town’s board of aldermen Tuesday evening the importance of establishing a fire district, as it is required by the state’s insurance commission.
Stansberry led a fact gathering expedition for the board during the meeting to provide detailed information on how the state’s general statutes require that such a district must be adopted and centered around the town’s primary business district.
Primary fire districts are designed to protect the town’s residential and commercial district by putting building standards and codes in place while taking the town’s makeup and geography into consideration to prevent fires from spreading.
But they also often come with certain restrictions. Chatham County’s Siler City, for example, prohibits normal wood construction and prohibits certain flame operations. These restrictions often cover what types of construction are allowed within the primary district.
Stansberry urged the town to learn from the mistakes and lessons learned from other towns. He said nearly two-thirds of the Town of Sparta was destroyed by a blaze that overwhelmed fire fighters nearly three decades prior.
“That’s what we are trying to prevent,” said Stansberry of establishing a primary fire district. “We would like Lansing to follow suit with Jefferson and West Jefferson in getting on board with establishing a necessary fire district.”
West Jefferson’s PFD is centered along Jefferson Avenue and runs from Boondocks Brewery toward the end of town near the approach to Radio Hill, he said.
Stansberry also told the board to not view the district establishment as a burden, but as a protective measure. The board presented Stansberry questions in regards to any type of retroactive properties off a proposed PFD and how descriptive the ordinance’s wording should be.
Lansing aldermen took no action following Stansberry’s presentation and said they would soon be in touch.
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.