Texas town approves ambulance station

The conditional permit was approved by the town's board in an effort to increase the public's access to EMS

By Joseph Alderman
The Rockwall County Herald-Banner

HEATH, Texas — Residents of Heath may sleep a little safer, if perhaps a little less soundly, as the city council of Heath approved a conditional use permit for Rockwall EMS to house an ambulance station within city limits.

Despite a change in meeting date, a number of Heath residents came out to hear the council’s decision regarding the ambulance station. The issue has been one of contention due to the fact that the site chosen for the station is residentially zoned and some neighbors and council members expressed concern over lights, noise and traffic dangers the station may pose.

Martin Ramirez of Rockwall EMS addressed a number of these concerns, stating that lights and sirens would be avoided in residential areas whenever possible, and that the dangers to pedestrians and traffic are unfounded.

“This is our job,” Ramirez said, “we know how to not hit kids. This station will probably have a safer view than our other stations.”

Following the opening of the floor to the public and the council considering a number of different issues regarding the station, council member Barry Brooks motioned to approve the conditional use permit with a clause limiting the permit to five years. After five years, the Rockwall EMS may reapply if no violations of the permit have been committed.

This motion, seconded by Rich Krause, passed unanimously among the council.

“I think the community is better served by having it in the residential area than not at all,” Brooks said.

The council also unanimously approved a rate increase to Atmos Energy for natural gas service to the city. The increase, which would total $29.9 million across the region, will translate to a $1.26 increase per month to residents and will go toward making improvements to pipelines and ensuring the safety and reliability of their infrastructure. This total had been negotiated down from what originally would have been a $1.52 increase per resident per month.

A construction contract for repairs on a section of McDonald Road was also awarded by the council, as well as the approval of the purchase of a new fire engine.

Motions to table items were approved for the purchase of a building for the housing of public works equipment and to approve a license agreement with Travis Ranch regarding landscaping, irrigation and signage. The council stated that both issues required further investigation.

Copyright 2016 the Rockwall County Herald-Banner

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