News

Menlo Park: New fire station downtown wins council's OK

 

This may be the only fire that Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman wishes had not been extinguished so quickly: A firefighter once knocked a light off the wall while leaving Station 6, causing a small fire. The chief wondered whether it would've been better if the station at 700 Oak Grove Ave. in downtown Menlo Park had burnt down, since that could have allowed renovations sooner.

Nevertheless, thanks to the Menlo Park City Council's unanimous approval on Tuesday (Jan. 13), the district can go full steam ahead with building a new station at the site.

The plan is to build a 7,857-square-foot, two-story firehouse of red brick and tan stucco. A companion 1,003- square-foot, single-story structure will be built to display trucks from the 1930s and 1950s, along with a hose wagon from 1900. Finally, a 342-square-foot carriage house, which has a gable roof and bell tower, will be relocated to the site from the district's Middlefield Road headquarters.

The first floor of the new station will have a drive-through bay, while the second floor will provide living quarters for the firefighters on duty, according to the site plan.

The architectural design of the new station is by CJW Architecture, Portola Valley. Carter J. Warr is the principal architect and Bill Gutgsell, the senior associate architect.

Two neighboring lots -- at 700 Oak Grove Ave. and 1231 Hoover St. -- will be combined to create enough space for the new station. The current building at 700 Oak Grove Ave. and the house at 1231 Hoover St. will be demolished.

At least two heritage trees and six non-heritage trees will be cut down. The district plans to plant 26 new trees.

The project has been tweaked during development to address concerns raised by neighbors about privacy and blocked light. Residents indicated they were happy with the final outcome, which earned the district praise from the council during the meeting.

Click here to see the staff report for the project, including renderings. (The document may take several minutes to load.)

Comments

5 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2015 at 1:54 pm

pearl is a registered user.

"The plan is to build a 7,857-square-foot, two-story firehouse of red brick and tan stucco. A companion 1,003- square-foot, single-story structure will be built to display trucks from the 1930s and 1950s, along with a hose wagon from 1900. Finally, a 342-square-foot carriage house, which has a gable roof and bell tower, will be relocated to the site from the district's Middlefield Road headquarters."

You're kidding!!! Taxpayer dollars being spent on a building to display old fire trucks and an old hose wagon?!?! Surely this must be some kind of bad joke!!! What about spending taxpayer dollars on our school kids, instead??? How about funding their music, sports, and other programs?!? Buying them books and computers for their school work?!? Upgrading their school buildings?!? Paying teachers a decent salary?!?

This fire building folly, yet another "trendy" City of Menlo Park misadventure, makes me sick to my stomach!!! Shame, shame, shame on the MPPD and the MP City Council!!! You guys do NOT, repeat NOT, have my support or respect!!! : (



5 people like this
Posted by Red Light
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 14, 2015 at 2:04 pm

I had a similar reaction. I think I read in another paper today that the Chief was complaining about the delayed response to a fire because of traffic. Wouldn't it be better to spend the funds from this shrine on some traffic signal over-ride controls?

The main station looks great. Functional and much needed. I just can't get past the use of the space from the second lot they acquired .. the museum and the carriage house.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The plans for Station 6 have been published and discussed many times - it is a bit late for hand wringing concerns by those who were not paying attention.

The Brown Act has no value if you sleep through all the public announcements.

And traffic preemption HAS already been funded.


2 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Menlo Park Fire has been planning to update and upgrade this station for years. Additionally, having a place to view history is beneficial to the community. Many people, including school kids, stop by fire stations to see the old and new pieces of equipment and learn about the fire service.

Unfortunately, some of the above posters are misinformed in knowing how the fire district and schools receive their money. Maybe looking at the history of the funding sources would help.

I'll bet they didn't know that EACH year the fire district has money subtracted by the state from their budget to augment the education fund. At times this subtraction has been more than $2 million.


1 person likes this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 15, 2015 at 9:08 am

SteveC is a registered user.

Why am I not surprised about Pearls and Red lights posts. Same baloney. Yes, try attending the meetings when these issues are discussed.

Peter is right, when you snooze you loose when issues are discussed I public meetings and you do not attend are make city officials aware of your concerns.


3 people like this
Posted by OLT TIMER
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 17, 2015 at 2:24 pm

When you have an incompetent leader like Peter Carpenter, who only knows what is best it to just spend spend spend, what do you expect? This fiefdom of a fire district, should have many many years ago been absorbed in to one of the Cites. When the fire fighters have many days off, and on working days are allowed to wonder around and waste time and effort supporting charities, what should you expect.

Now I suppose we will need 6 more Fire Chiefs to head up the six new teams who will control an un-needed drone. What a waste of funds.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 17, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

olt timer - Feel free anytime you are up to it to engage in public service but remember that you have to get elected first.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 17, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

sorry old timer, Peter is far from incompetent. due in part to his leadership we have a government agency that is self sustaining and doesn't require annual bond measures. Our local school districts ring a bell?

I suggest you do a little homework, look at the financials of the district [part removed]. You don't know what you are talking about. Either that or you're a disgruntled firefighter. In either case, you're WRONG.


1 person likes this
Posted by Red Light
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 17, 2015 at 6:30 pm

"The District closed escrow for 1231 Hoover Street on July 31, 2008 for $1,507,300. 1231 Hoover Street
is located behind Station #6. These two properties will be used to form a larger footprint on which the
District can rebuild Station #6. "

The property's future use appears to be as a way for an engine to enter the new station from the rear, eliminating the need to back into the station from Oak Grove.

Otherwise, the 2008 $1.5 million expenditure will used to house a museum (how much will that structure cost?) and a carriage house that currently has a home at the Middlefield station.

I didn't participate in the public debate. "If you snooze, you lose" shouldn't be the benchmark for the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. Somewhere north of $1.5 million is a lot of money.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 18, 2015 at 10:35 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

red light:

what would you have them do? Come knock on your door to make sure you're paying attention? That's not how it works. If you snooze you definitely lose. That's how our form of government works. It requires work.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 18, 2015 at 10:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The plans for the new Station 6 were presented and discussed, with opportunity for public comment, at three Fire Board meetings, two MP Planning Commission meetings and one City Council meeting. That is SIX opportunities for public input. Red light never appeared at any of these meetings.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm

I think that it's great and appropriate that people ask questions. It's too bad more don't go the the FD Board meetings rather than use this forum to voice their displeasure. I have attended these meetings and rarely see other people there.

I do have a question for all those who are distressed with expenditure of funds -- at what point do you replace outdated equipment, etc.? How old is the average car before it's traded in? When you update and modernize, don't you expect to pay more?

And while I don't always agree with Mr. Carpenter 100% of the time, he is willing to be involved and active and most often has information on the issues.


1 person likes this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2015 at 2:52 pm

pearl is a registered user.

To Bob: Thanks for expressing your views.

I'm confused. What does any of this have to do with REPLACING old fire equipment? Did I miss something? I thought this was about building an additional building that would showcase old fire trucks and an old hose wagon, in addition to renovating the existing fire house building.

I also wonder how relocating the 342-square-foot carriage house, which has a gable roof and bell tower, from district headquarters to the Oak Grove site, will impact the neighborhood. Isn't Hoover Street still basically a residential area?

I moved from Menlo Park 30 years ago, after being born and raised there, and have not returned to visit. Using Google Maps, it looks like the two-story apartment building, immediately adjacent to the West side of the fire station has been remodeled, and turned into an office building? I lived in that apartment building for a couple of years back in the mid-1980s.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 19, 2015 at 7:38 am

Pearl:

yes, the apartment building you used to live in is gone. It has been replaced by a multi story commercial building. While Hoover is residential, Oak Grove is not in that area. It is commercial. There will be little to no impact on Hoover.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 19, 2015 at 7:58 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hopefully everyone realizes that:

1 - The current fire station was not large enough to support all of the planned development in the Downtown/ECR area that is including in the Specific Plan

2 - The City of Menlo Park made ZERO contributions towards the cost of the new station and the additional equipment required to support all of the planned development in the Downtown/ECR area that is including in the Specific Plan

3 - When the Fire District leased the old automobile dealership at 444 ECR from Stanford in order to use it as a temporary station while the existing Station 6 was being replaced the City demanded that the Fire District spend $400k for TEMPORARY improvements to 444 ECR as a precondition for its use as a temporary station. The Fire District was forced to abandon this approach.

4 - In contrast the City of East Palo Alto bent over backwards to support the superb new replacement station being built on University Ave. That project, Station 2, was started after the Station 6 planning began and it will be finished before there is ANY construction on the new Station 6 - a tale of two cities that have very different priorities for the importance of fire service.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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