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LIFESTAR could park care chopper in LaFollette permanently

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By Dwane Wilder

LAFOLLETTE—Officials from Med-Trans, a medical air transportation company, have inquired about permanently stationing a LIFESTAR helicopter near LaFollette Fire Hall No. 3 at the east end of the city.

The medical helicopter base would also include a 5,000-gallon above-ground storage tank for the storage of jet helicopter fuel.

Keith Goins, a Med-Trans representative, attended a recent city council workshop to answer questions about the proposed facility. Councilman Hansford Hatmaker had concerns about a large above-ground fuel depot so close to a school, factory and gas stations. Fire Hall No. 3 sits between LaFollette Middle School and Deroyal Industries on the north side of Tenn. 63.

Owens also said Med-Trans is looking at two other possible sites in Campbell County, but did not reveal the locations. He said Med-Trans would prefer to be at the east end of LaFollette.

Planning Commission Chairman Stan Foust said a current city ordinance prohibits above-ground fuel tanks and that codes would have to be changed in order to approve the request.

“We have had people come in here in the past wanting to put in above-ground fuel tanks, and we had to deny their request,” said Councilman Joe Bolinger. “This has to be taken before the board of zoning appeals before we can grant that.”

At the suggestion of Mayor Mike Stanfield, the city planning commission will consider the proposal during its next meeting on Dec. 19 at 4:30 p.m.