Menlo Park: Downtown fire station passes commission review


Menlo Park's downtown fire station is a step closer to undergoing a top to bottom renovation.

The new station will "be something people will be pleased to see in their neighborhood," Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman told the Planning Commission during a hearing on Dec. 15.

It will include a 7,857-square-foot, two-story firehouse; a 1,003- square-foot, single-story vintage vehicle display building; and a 342-square-foot carriage house that will be relocated from the district's Middlefield Road headquarters.

The project requires merging two lots -- 700 Oak Grove Ave. and 1231 Hoover St. -- as well as demolition of the current station and a house.

The lot merger became a source of contention during the recent election. Those standing against Measure M, an initiative to change the specific plan, argued that the initiative, if passed, would then require a special election to approve the fire-station project since one lot sits within the specific plan's boundaries while the other does not. Initiative proponents argued that wasn't true. However, the debate ended when Measure M did not pass.

Fire trucks from the 1930s and 1950s, along with a hose wagon dating back to 1900, will go on display at the new station.

In response to neighborhood concerns, district representatives said the display building will not revert to an active station in the future, and the station will not be used to host events such as wedding receptions.

"There won't be any raging parties going on at the firehouse ... that I'm aware of, anyway," Chief Schapelhouman said.

"We're very excited for the community," said Planning Commission chair Ben Eiref after a 7-0 vote in favor of allowing the project to proceed to the council for final approval.

Construction is expected to take place over two years, with Station 6 at 700 Oak Grove Ave. remaining open for operations throughout, according to the fire district.

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1 person likes this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jan 2, 2015 at 2:02 pm

pearl is a registered user.

I used to live in the apartment building on Oak Grove Avenue, right next door to that fire station. All I can say is, the poor neighbors living in very close proximity who will have to endure a two-year construction project?!? And, the new building is going to be two stories high, blocking views?!? Why would you put a two-story building in a residential neighborhood where the houses/apartment buildings are aleady very close together? A two-story building will feel absolutely claustrophobic for those living next door and close by. Property values are going to plummet. Sure glad I don't live there any more. Why don't they turn the station on Middlefield Road into a two-story building? That would be much better, as it is not in a residential neighborhood.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 2, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


apparently you haven't been by that neighborhood in awhile or you'd have noticed the two story building being built right next door to the fire station. Also, describing that area as "residential" isn't very accurate both sides of Oak Grove in that area are primarily commercial with a small exception. As to the noise, the neighbors have already been dealing with construction noise from the two story building being built next to the fire station. doesn't seem to have been a major problem.

1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Pearl - Relax. The buildings on the Hoover Street side will be single story.

There is no apartment building on Oak Grove next to Station 6. The Oak Grove building will be adjacent to a new THREE story commercial building.

Station 1 on Middlefield has been two story for decades.

1 person likes this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jan 2, 2015 at 4:55 pm

pearl is a registered user.

To Menlo Voter & Peter Carpenter: You're right, I left Menlo Park 30 years ago, and haven't been back to visit. Obviously, I am living in a happy time warp.

In the 1980'S, I lived in the two-story apartment building at 702 Oak Grove Avenue, immediately adjacent to the west side of the fire station that was there; our properties shared a white picket fence. There was a tall palm tree growing in the small patch of grass out in the front yard of our building. Shreve’s Sport Shop was across the street. One would think it would be noisy living right next door to a fire station, but, at this location, it was not.

I recall, during the 1989 earthquake, the power was out in our neighborhood, and in much of downtown Menlo Park. The firemen parked one of their SUV-type trucks in the firehouse driveway, lifted the hood, and hooked up their radio system to the truck's battery. Several of us in the neighborhood were standing at the white picket fence, looking pitiful, watching all this going on, and suddenly coming to the realization the firemen couldn't help us because they were, rightfully, tending to other more urgent issues. None of us had any emergencies going on, but the combination of the prolonged power outage, and closed Co-Op market, were a bit unsettling. I think we just were looking for some reassurance that life would return to normal in a few days.

That was back in the days before CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training, so most of us didn't have supplies of food and water on hand to see us through the three-day period when the power finally came back on, and the Co-Op market on Menlo Avenue opened its doors once again – that was, indeed, a joyous moment!!! ; )

2 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 3, 2015 at 10:55 am

Now wouldn't it make sense that if you have an article about the newly approved fire station to include a diagram of the site and maybe the artist rendition? Or at least include a link.

1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 3, 2015 at 11:11 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is the Staff Report:

Web Link

Caution - It is a big file.

2 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 3, 2015 at 11:41 am

Thank you Peter. Too bad the district was unable to also get 702 Oak Grove to add to the facility.

And now Almanac how about pulling a couple diagrams from the report to make it easier for your readers. You can't let Peter do all the work.

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