New Life for New Montecito Fire Station?

Rejected Environmental Report Could Be Reworked

Plans to build a third fire station in Montecito seemed to be completely off the table earlier this month, but after a Montecito Fire board meeting Monday night, it appears there is a chance the facility could still be built.

AMEC, a local consulting company, drafted an environmental impact report for the station, but it was rejected by a judge a few months ago. Now, AMEC said it could modify the original EIR for $8,000. The district hopes AMEC will cover these costs. Even if AMEC does cover the rework, some board members expressed concern that the required legal expenses to move forward could cost the district tens of thousands of dollars.

Further, board member Abe Powell said that more research — including evaluations of response times, threats, and developmental changes — needs to be done to determine the most cost efficient way to spend taxpayers’ money. Perhaps using the funds to purchase more ambulances or clear brush would be more productive, Powell noted.

Opponents to a third fire station include the Montecito Agricultural Foundation and those who live nearby. “Even if we decide to rerun the EIR, that’d take a minimum of six months to get going, and it still might not be completed and certified,” Powell said. At the very least, Powell estimated that it would take a year for any major steps to take place.

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