San Mateo considers expanding fire station 

To keep firefighters and residents safe, San Mateo Fire Station 24 is looking to expand onto an adjacent land parcel, which is currently a rental property.

In a public hearing set for Sept. 7, the City Council will review an environmental impact report for acquiring the property as well as a resolution of necessity, said Lisa Grote, community development director for San Mateo County.

Under the California Environmental Quality Act, all new construction projects must submit an environmental impact assessment prior to finalizing building plans. In order to comply with CEQA, the proposed expansion of Station 24 must not have any negative impact on items that include traffic patterns, air quality or community noise levels, Grote said. The new property must also meet current seismic standards and other life safety requirements.

“We need to expand in order to meet current requirements in terms of storage area for trucks and turnaround distances on the site, as well as standards for the fire equipment itself,” Grote said.

Station 24 is currently 8,000 square feet, but is in negotiations to acquire the adjacent 4,500-square-foot property — on the 300 block of South Humboldt Street — just north of the station, Project Manager Ralph Petty said. While a set construction design will not be determined until after the Sept. 7 meeting, the main purpose is to alter the driveway.

“These days, fire stations are trying to get away from back-in stations, which require a firefighter to get out of the truck and direct traffic while the driver backs into the garage,” Petty said. “We need an entry that goes in behind the station so the firefighters can pull straight into the bays and then pull out of front door when a call comes in.”

According to Petty, improving the mode of entry at Station 24, which is currently on busy Humboldt Street, would greatly reduce traffic jams resulting from trucks returning from fire calls.

The cost of the proposed design has yet to be determined, but Petty said construction will be funded through the 97 community-approved public safety bonds as well as some added redevelopment dollars.

The construction of Fire Station 23, at 31 W. 27th Ave., set to begin Sept. 17, is also being funded through these bonds. The current Station 23 will be torn down and rebuilt as a drive-through station, set to be complete in July, Petty said.

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