Monday, November 16, 2015

New Fire Station Plans Discussed

Monday night a small group of residents - 20 individuals - and Public Services and Fire Department staff met in a chilly, noisy truck bay at Fire Station #1, 2803 Royal Palm Drive, to discuss plans to completely rebuild that aging facility - it was built in 1961 and is, indeed, getting long in the tooth.  The floors show signs of soil shifting and the layout is very out of date, as are the housing facilities for the staff.
Fire Chief Dan Stefano, Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz and Consulting Architect Kelley Needham guided the discussion for most of an hour in a casual environment.  CEO Tom Hatch was also on hand, but only listened.  Other staff members, including Associate Engineer Arash Rahimian, who is the Project Engineer on this project.  Battalion Chief Tim Vasin was also present and answered many questions.
Barry Friedland brought his Costa Mesa Brief camera to record this discussion for his YouTube Channel, but gave up shortly after the meeting began because the sound was impossible to record due to the echo and street noise.  He quietly folded his equipment and sat patiently listening with the rest of the residents.
Among the attendees were Councilwoman Sandra Genis and former Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold.  Among the residents were several familiar faces plus some folks attending this kind of an event for the first time because it will be in their neighborhood.
Two different options were presented by Needham, both as part of a slide show and on charts along the wall.  Both are identical inside - the only differences are cosmetic.  Among the improvements were the egress from the facility for the fire apparatus out onto Adams Avenue, which will be facilitated with Fire Department actuated all-stop signals, to permit the trucks to leave quickly and without having to dodge traffic.  There are NO plans to consider another location for this station.
 Option 1
 Option 2
The current plan does NOT anticipate a solar power installation, but we were told the new building will be LEED-compliant.  The building WILL be strong enough to accommodate solar panels, if necessary.

In response to questions by the audience we learned that this project will cost an estimated $8.5 million, and that funding of it will be included in the discussion at the City Council meeting Tuesday night as part of the package for the new library, community center and Lions Park enhancements.

We also learned that the City hopes to continue to operate from this site during the anticipated year-long construction process.  Mention was made of utilizing modular buildings to house the staff on a temporary basis.  The use of Fire Station #6, which is anticipated to close, is not a consideration at this time because of response time issues.

The new facility will have expansion capability according to comments made by Stefano and Vasin - additional staff and equipment could be domiciled there once it's complete.
According to the tentative timetable, this issue will be heard by the Planning Commission on December 14, 2015 and then passed on up to the City Council in January.  Presuming all issues are resolved - including how to pay for this new facility - construction drawings would be rendered and the actual demolition of the site could begin next summer.  A one-year completion time is anticipated.  According to Munoz, construction hours will be 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and it is anticipated that construction parking will not encroach on nearby neighborhoods, which - we found out - have permit-only parking.
Questions and comments from the meeting Monday night will be folded into the staff presentation to the Planning Commission.  If you were unable to attend, but wish to comment, any questions and/or comments should be addressed to Arash Rahimian by email at or by mail to the City at 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.  For more information please review the city announcement HERE.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

I have to wonder where the sense is in having that equipment exit/enter on Adams? That is an obvious and rather stupid flaw. I have to wonder why the fire station is even consider being rebuilt in this location. Its never been the best at all. Especially with the newly expected traffic increase from the newest rounds of high density being planned for the Acapulco area across the street all the way down to the motel behind the strip mall where Stevens Pharmacy is now. That is going to put increased traffic where Adams is already gridlocked at night. Very bad idea. In order to get out of the station, the trucks will have to go west on Adams, and make a turn around the block in order to get going in the other direction. Stupid! At least as it is now, the trucks can exit on Royal Palm and head in any direction.

11/18/2015 04:52:00 AM  

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