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What you missed Monday: Fayetteville Fire Department data, rezoning debate


At Monday’s Fayetteville City Council meeting, the Fayetteville Fire Department shared annual data for 2023, including EMS and rescue statistics, with council members. There was also a public hearing on a residential rezoning that several neighbors strongly opposed. 

Here’s a closer look at these two discussion items: 

Fire department’s annual review 

  • Call volume has increased each of the past three years, with the department receiving 26,414 calls in 2021, 27,676 calls in 2022 and 28,098 calls in 2023. 
    • 62% of calls were for EMS and rescue 
    • 15% of calls were for fires
  • Average daily volume was 77 calls
  • More than 13,000 patients were treated by firefighters in 2023
  • Fire department response times for 2023 were the lowest in three years, averaging 6 minutes and 59 seconds 
  • Total fire losses in value amounted to $10.5 million. Largest financial losses from fires included: 
    • A large timbre fire on Shaw Mill Road ($1.8 million)
    • The Russell Street Bridge fire ($1 million)
  • Hazardous material responses increased from 398 in 2022 to 453 in 2023. The majority of responses were natural-gas related. Dave Richtmeyer, assistant fire chief, said the jump resulted mostly from natural gas incidents associated with utility construction and installation. 
  • There were 1,716 fire department responses. Of those, 390 ended up being structure fires and 123 vehicle fires.
    • 29.8% of structure fires started in the kitchen 
  • There were 18,732 EMS and rescue responses. Notably, these include 2,151 motor vehicle accident responses and 516 overdose responses. 
  • Fire department training highlights:
    • 144,121 hours of training, department-wide
    • 29 new firefighter certifications
    • 57 EMT certifications/re-certifications 
  • The department, budgeted for 351 positions, employs 335 full-time employees.
  • While firefighter recruitment and retention levels in both Fayetteville and in North Carolina have been declining in recent years, the department experienced a slight boost in hiring and retaining firefighters in 2023. Ronnie Willet, deputy fire chief of human resources, said the boost was from “a significant uptick in rehires” as employees who left the department decided to come back. 

Stamper Road rezoning 

A rezoning case involving a vacant quarter-acre plot on Stamper Road elicited staunch opposition from neighbors during a public rezoning hearing at Monday’s council meeting. The developer and owner, Rockfish Run Land and Development LLC, sought to rezone the property to accommodate higher-density development. 

The rezoning, while remaining for single-family homes, would decrease the lot size from a 10,000 square foot minimum lot size (SF-10) to a 6,000 square foot minimum lot size (SF-6), thereby increasing the density. Tim Evans, of Rockfish Run Land and Development, said on Monday that he aims to build a townhouse-style duplex on the property to either rent or sell. 

Five neighbors spoke in opposition to the rezoning and the developer’s plans to build a duplex on the plot. Their concerns ranged from perceived inconsistency with the single-family homes surrounding the property, straying from original land use plans, and concerns with safety, traffic, parking and environmental impacts. 

Neighbors were especially concerned about the property’s location on an incline and its proximity to Stamper Road, which they claimed is often used for thoroughfare and is prone to frequent accidents and instances of speeding. 

The Zoning Commission, a city advisory board, denied the rezoning 4-1 on Dec. 12, according to January commission meeting minutes. In contrast, the city Planning Department recommended approval of the rezoning on Monday, stating that it was in conformity with the city’s future land use plan for medium-density development in the area. 

Council Member Deno Hondros noted that a special use permit would still be required for the applicant to develop the land, and he put forward a motion to approve the rezoning. The council approved it in a 6-4 vote. Council Members D. J. Haire, Malik Davis, Mario Benavente and Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Jensen voted against the rezoning, while Hondros, Mayor Mitch Colvin and Council Members Brenda McNair, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, Lynne Greene and Derrick Thompson voted for the approval. 

The hearing for the special use permit will take place on March 25 at the city council meeting. 

Contact Evey Weisblat at eweisblat@cityviewnc.com or 216-527-3608. 

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fire department, rezoning, city council