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Banksville Fire Company Wants Zoning Explanation

ARMONK, N.Y.- For the Banksville Independent Fire Company it’s been hard to find volunteers to fill daytime hours, and Fire Chief Al Farquhar and his father Bob Farquhar are worried that the potential rezoning of the business district in Banksville could put even more of a burden on the fire company by pushing out volunteers.

Bob, who owns a lawn mower repair shop in Banksville is also a volunteer at the fire company and he thinks the North Castle Town Board has to come forward and explain why it wants to eliminate or restrict current business properties in Banksville.

“What they [town board] wants to do is get rid of the general business zone which allows gas stations, construction yards, things of that nature and change it to central business which has more restrictions on what can and can’t be there,” Bob said. “They [Town Board] have to come and talk to us to let us know, if they drop us down a zoning class, what we’ll be able to operate on our property.”

Many of the volunteers according to the Farquhars, are blue collar workers from the general business zoning area Al and Bob Farquhar are worried that restricting zoning to central business could potentially have a negative impact on the amount of volunteers the fire company has.

“We encourage everyone to help out but it seems like our stronger membership base is the mechanics, construction workers, guys like that,” Al said. “We don’t really have too many guys that work in the hamlet in the daytime and we’d love to get more daytime guys.”

Bob added that the fire company needs people who are comfortable operating  large fire trucks and that the people with truck-driving experience are not normally one’s with office jobs.

“You can’t just take a guy who’s pushing papers behind a desk and has never driven a truck before in his life and throw him in a $400,000 truck and say go down the road 60mph and get to this house fire,” Bob said. “I think volunteer firefighters all over the United States are predominantly blue collar workers.”

Bob says he and other business owners in Banksville have asked the question, “What are we doing wrong?”

“They [Town Board] say we’re not doing anything wrong, we just have to match the zoning around us. Not for nothing, we [local businesses] were here first,” said Bob who’s had his small business in Banksville for over 30-years. “They have to have some good reasons for why we have to be out of here. If it’s purely aesthetics, that’s not good enough anymore.”

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