A new Moscow police station on the south end of town took a step forward Tuesday night as the Moscow Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a conditional use permit to construct the facility at the intersection of Southview Avenue and South Main Street/U.S. Highway 95.
City residents will vote on a 10-year, $9.64 million general obligation bond May 21 that, if approved, would be used to fund the police station construction on the 2.31-acre lot. The project is expected to cost $7.89 million.
The city’s CUP application stated the facility would include a two-story, 16,000-square-foot police station with a 4,000-square-foot outbuilding that would house storage spaces for bicycles, motorcycles and evidence.
The first floor of the main police facility would contain a public lobby, interview room, reception area, records center, evidence storage and labs, wellness center, locker rooms, armory, break room and various offices. The second floor would contain a training room, various offices, a parking enforcement center, administration center and storage area.
While Moscow’s zoning code requires no parking for the proposed use, the development would provide 22 spaces for public parking and 74 stalls for employee parking.
Myrtle Street, which does not exist, would be developed, and it would include a sidewalk and underground utilities along the eastern side of the police station property.
Although the proposed station is not centrally located, Moscow Police Department Capt. Tyson Berrett told the board Tuesday city officials looked at several spaces in or close to the downtown vicinity, including the Old Dumas Seed Site on A and Almon streets, the Federal Building and the Moscow Recycling Center, but the price and space of the Southview Avenue site turned out to be the best option.
“We need a couple acres of land to put this facility on and this is really the only place the city can find,” Berrett said.
He said the city will expand with new developments to the south end of town, which will make the site more central.
Berrett said the the new facility would solve space and infrastructure issues the police face. He said storage facilities are in various parts of town and the proposed station would allow the department to store everything in one place and provide extra parking. The new facility, which Berrett said would last 50 years or more, would provide extra space so the department can grow into it as the city and department’s needs expand.
While some might be concerned about noisy sirens in a largely residential area, Berrett said officers generally only use lights unless sirens are absolutely necessary when leaving the station on a call.
He said the majority of calls take place during business hours, which would limit noise impact on the residential neighborhood. In December, Moscow police responded to 867 calls, and 56 percent occurred 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Berrett said. From December until this week, 65 percent of the calls came during that time period.
One resident spoke in favor of the CUP Tuesday and another emailed a favorable response.
The board will likely approve a relevant criteria and standards document at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Mayor’s Conference Room at City Hall. If approved, the CUP is officially granted.
In other business, the board approved, with a 4-1 vote, a CUP application for a woman to conduct a massage therapy business at her home at 816 Hathaway St. The home is located in a residential zoning district.
Three of the applicant’s neighbors spoke against the CUP, citing parking issues and concerns the business would change the character of the neighborhood.
Board member Steve Bush casted the lone dissenting vote. The board will also consider a relevant criteria and standards document for the CUP next week.
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