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New Life for New Montecito Fire Station?

Rejected Environmental Report Could Be Reworked


Friday, July 26, 2013
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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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Seems clear that the MAF (read NIMBY) got their slate elected. The interesting twist that putting in the station would speed development of ag land certainly doesn't change the situation that the far east segment of the Fire District lacks timely service, nor does the fact that Joe Cole among others, is willing to fund candidates ( apparently a cheaper strategy than straight lawsuits) mean that these needs can or should be delayed.
Powell has a point that the money might be better spent on brush clearing, although it is hard to see the point of buying another ambulance that will be parked the same distance away.
Maybe those residents outside the five minute response time radius should fund a lawyer who can threaten to sue those who have opposed the station should someone die or have their house burn due to a delayed response?

visionmatters (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2013 at 12:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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