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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber UTFFEMT's Avatar
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    Post Firefighters cause Highland couple to lose sleep

    Firefighters cause Highland couple to lose sleep


    A Highland City fire station, built across the street from homeowners Dan and Mary Baxter, has become quite a nuisance for the couple. Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009. MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Herald
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    HIGHLAND -- A Highland couple is asking the city to build an $8,000 berm in front of their home to shield them from their neighbors.

    Who might the new neighbors be that are keeping the couple up night and day with their bright, unpredictable lights and constant activity? The fire department.

    About a year and a half ago, Highland opened a new fire station on the corner of a quiet residential neighborhood where Dan Baxter has lived for three decades. Now, after months of wrangling, city staff have confirmed that the council will convene at the Baxter home to see first-hand the trouble the station is causing.

    Baxter said he and his wife, Mary, knew nothing of the city's plans to build the fire station feet from their front door until the day construction crews appeared.

    When firefighters began working out of the completed station "our whole world collapsed that night," Baxter said. "We thought this cannot be for real. We were in shock."

    "Their tenet is that during the night when the doors of the fire station open, there are bright red and green lights flashing until the doors are closed down tight," said Councilwoman Kathryn Schramm, who recently visited the couple's home. "Those lights go right though into the front rooms. It makes them sick to their stomachs, the movement of the lights. Until the doors are shut down tight, those lights are moving in a circular pattern, according to what Mr. and Mrs. Baxter told me."

    The council's visit on Tuesday, set up by Councilman Brian Brunson, is designed to "let us see what they have been dealing with," Schramm said, noting the city could then consider potential remedies as needed.

    In retrospect, the couple said they wish now that they had acted aggressively to stop the city early on. But at the time, the couple was basically living in Carbon County, caring for Mary's ailing father, a task that consumed their lives.

    By the time they returned to their Highland home full-time, it was too late to do anything.

    For more than a year, the couple said they felt defeated. The station's three bays look directly into the couple's front window. The firefighters have been kind and have not ever turned their sirens on when leaving the station, but flashing lights and headlights pervade the Baxter home without warning night and day. In warm weather, firefighters leave the bay doors open all the time, and often work on trucks in front of the station, leaving the couple no privacy.

    In September, the couple hit upon a plan. They decided to ask the city to build a berm in front of their home, topped with trees to block the light and give them privacy from the firefighters who can see into their living room and two bedrooms. With bids on the project ranging from $8,000 to $20,000, the couple went to a City Council meeting with their plan. The response?

    "The mayor (Jay Franson) nodded his head, kind of in favor, and from there it has just been a long battle," Dan Baxter said.

    Since that day, Baxter said he has attended every meeting of the council and Planning Commission. He has spoken about his plight in at least four meetings. No one from city staff or the council had contacted the family until Schramm visited their home within the past two weeks.

    Baxter said he has met with firefighters and wants to emphasize that his fight is not with them. He knows they are doing their job. The fault for putting a three-bay fire station in a quiet residential neighborhood lies directly on the shoulders of elected officials, he said.

    Those who won the recent election campaigned on cutting city spending, and the Baxters said they fear they may not get any help from the city.
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  2. #2
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Interesting article, but I have some questions:

    When a fire station is moving into an area it's never been in before, this is usually one of the most talked-about things in the area. Signs on the vacant property, articles in the local paper, postings on the local government website. Granted, they might have been in another area with the sick relative, but how could they not have known that a fire station was going up across the street from their home until the construction equipment showed up?

    "Their tenet is that during the night when the doors of the fire station open, there are bright red and green lights flashing until the doors are closed down tight," said Councilwoman Kathryn Schramm, who recently visited the couple's home. "Those lights go right though into the front rooms. It makes them sick to their stomachs, the movement of the lights. Until the doors are shut down tight, those lights are moving in a circular pattern, according to what Mr. and Mrs. Baxter told me."
    What? Green and white lights moving in a circular pattern? They have a Roto-Ray mounted to the wall? This just doesn't make sense.

    Sick to their stomach?

    For more than a year, the couple said they felt defeated. The station's three bays look directly into the couple's front window. The firefighters have been kind and have not ever turned their sirens on when leaving the station, but flashing lights and headlights pervade the Baxter home without warning night and day. In warm weather, firefighters leave the bay doors open all the time, and often work on trucks in front of the station, leaving the couple no privacy.
    Do they not own window dressings? Close the blinds at night like everyone else does, even the people who don't live across the street from the fire station. And they don't have any privacy because the FF's are working on the rigs? What? If they're like the FF's I work and volunteer with, they have better things to do than watch what's going on across the street.

    I'd love to see if there's some follow-up to this!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post

    What? Green and white lights moving in a circular pattern? They have a Roto-Ray mounted to the wall? This just doesn't make sense.
    They are saying when the trucks are pulling out of the bays and backing in the warning lights are on and visible untill the bay doors are closed.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Sick to their stomach?
    Flashing lights have long been used to disorient people. The right combination with the right person can have actual physical effects. People with epilepsy are well known to have severe reactions to some lights.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Do they not own window dressings? Close the blinds at night like everyone else does, even the people who don't live across the street from the fire station.
    Whether you have drapes, blinds or shades, light still is visible around the edges or at the bottom where it often can be seen on the floor. They are not always a solution. And maybe the people do not want to have black out blinds pulled down every night. Would you?

    Not sure what kids of town this mess is taking place in, but it sounds like the designer and planners did not do the greatest job thinking this location out. But they should have realized that the house directly across the street from the bay doors MIGHT have an issue with this. I know i would.

    I would love a fire house on my block. But i too would not want it on top of me.

  4. #4
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    They are saying when the trucks are pulling out of the bays and backing in the warning lights are on and visible untill the bay doors are closed.
    I don't read it that way. The emphasis is on the lights and the doors, and the vehicles aren't mentioned at all. I get the impression they're discussing wall-mounted lights.

    Flashing lights have long been used to disorient people. The right combination with the right person can have actual physical effects. People with epilepsy are well known to have severe reactions to some lights.
    I'm aware of this, but this is virtually always related to strobe lights, which the article doesn't imply is the case here. Aside from that, only an estimated 3% of the 3,000,000 epileptics in the US have seizures when exposed to strobe lights. I'm not saying that its impossible for the homeowner to possibly have effects from the lights, but many of the things in the article seem to be terribly dramatic.

    Whether you have drapes, blinds or shades, light still is visible around the edges or at the bottom where it often can be seen on the floor. They are not always a solution. And maybe the people do not want to have black out blinds pulled down every night. Would you?
    Actually, yes I do. I have some pretty unusual sleep patterns, so I use them all the time. However, I know that's not the norm, so I digress. But please be realistic, don't most of the people you know pull some sort of shade at night? Are the folks in the article the exception to the rule?

    Not sure what kids of town this mess is taking place in, but it sounds like the designer and planners did not do the greatest job thinking this location out. But they should have realized that the house directly across the street from the bay doors MIGHT have an issue with this. I know i would.
    Having been on a committee for the planning, design, and construction of a new 15,000SF station for the past couple of years, I am intimately familiar with fire station location and the impact it can have on the neighbors. Station sites are often dictated by available land within an area designated by response times, geographic needs, and other factors. Yes, these people see it when they look out of their windows. How about all of the people that don't? It's simply not always possible to put a station in an area where the homeowners aren't going to see it or have to deal with it.

    7 of our 20 stations at work face directly or indirectly towards people's homes. Some of these homes existed before the station, others did not. It comes with the territory.

    Regardless, it still appears there's a lot of dramatic effect in the article.
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  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber BULL321's Avatar
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    $8,000 my ***, Hey here's a cheap solution, Buy some Freaking curtains and or blinds, you bunch of dumbarses. For the love of Pete, give me a break.

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  6. #6
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    Bull to me this seems like the people who are whining and begging to have 485 finished over in the charmeck are but they dont want the noise that comes with it so they will sue the state for 100 trillion dollars for a sound barrier. some people just want stuff to whine about. At supply we had a neighbor beside us that requested we not run any lights or sirens at night.... because it was messing up his sleep. but the neighbor on the other side was in full support of us running sirens for our safety and we had the law on our side
    Originally Posted by the1141man
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  7. #7
    Forum Member yjbrody's Avatar
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    OptiCom sensor connected to remote controlled black out shades on the couple's windows. Problem solved.

    While they’re at it, how 'bout building a berm in front of the fire station and city hall that blocks all the whining.

    Unbelievable...

    It could have been worse. It's a very nice looking station.
    Last edited by yjbrody64; 11-17-2009 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Just felt like it

  8. #8
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    I have no sympathy for people who move in next to a fire station and then complain about the noise... that said, this is a different beast. They were there first, the city fuct up with their design and I feel it should be on the city to mitigate the concern. If all the owners are asking for is a berm I think they're getting off pretty cheap...

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber BULL321's Avatar
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    Just give them a roll of tin foil, a roll of tape and some ears pugs. There problem solved. Next.

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    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
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  10. #10
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    well i think that the town did screw this one up but it is also the neighbors job to stay informed. As stated, it's a fire house. It takes a little more then a few weeks to get approved. Signs, articals, your neighbors saying "hey did you hear about the fire house their building across the street?" The town should just buy some trees and plant them. Don't cost that much and can be done in a weekend. The couple will have to wait a few years for it to take full effect, but i guess it is better then nothing.
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  11. #11
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    look at it this way, if they haven't completely ****ed off the firefighters at that station the if they ever need something they'll have a short response time from station to scene
    Originally Posted by the1141man
    IACOJ is what Firehouse should have been to begin with, and what it now couldn't even aspire to in its wildest dreams.- the1141man

    the opinions typed in the above space are mine and mine alone

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    We had neighbors like that.

    Turns out that we used to have 2 or 3 folks that they had it in for.

    Now, they see us out working the heat, they offer us cold drinks.

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