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Ballots to be Mailed to Carpinteria-Summerland Voters for $10.6 Million Fire Bond

If approved in May mail-in election, funding would be used for new Summerland station on Lillie Avenue and improvements to Carpinteria station

If voters approve a $10.65 million bond, the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District will replace the 90-year-old Summerland Station with a new one, just a block away on Lillie Avenue.
If voters approve a $10.65 million bond, the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District will replace the 90-year-old Summerland Station with a new one, just a block away on Lillie Avenue.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk file photo )

The Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District is pushing for a $10.65 million bond measure to build a new fire station on Lillie Avenue in Summerland and pay for major renovations at the larger Carpinteria station.

Both buildings are more than 50 years old, unsafe in case of an earthquake, and in desperate need of overhauls, bond advocates say.

Measure Z is a mail-only ballot for voters within the fire protection district boundaries, and ballots are being mailed out Monday. Votes are due at the Santa Barbara County Elections Office, 4440-A Calle Real in Santa Barbara, or postmarked by, May 5.

A two-thirds majority is needed for the measure to pass.

The bond’s first priority would be to replace Station 2 in Summerland and build a larger, modern station about a block away at 2450 Lillie Ave. The new site is being used by the Mosquito & Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County, which has agreed to sell the land to the fire district if the bond passes, according to fire officials.

Next in line is renovating the Carpinteria Station, which isn’t earthquake safe, according to bond proponents. The bond language mentions buying equipment, but County Counsel Michael Ghizzoni notes that this type of funding can only be used to acquire and improve property, so the only equipment it can purchase is equipment affixed to the land or buildings.

The fire district also plans to build a training facility at the Carpinteria station, which is located at 911 Walnut Ave. near Carpinteria Avenue.

Arguments filed in support of the measure focused on the age of the buildings and concerns about them collapsing during an earthquake.

“When a disaster occurs, first responders must mobilize quickly to perform their jobs,” supporters wrote. “If the station that houses these responders is one of the first buildings to collapse, how can we expect to get the response we urgently need?”

They call the bond “Measure Z SAVES: Support Area Vital Emergency Services.”

Opponents argue that the new station and improvements won’t increase response times or fire protection for the area. The new Summerland station, planned to house eight on-duty firefighters and four apparatus, is larger than necessary, they wrote in ballot arguments.

They also wrote that the scope of the Carpinteria station remodeling work isn’t described in detail. Supporters rebutted that point, saying all the cost estimates and design plans are available.

Supporters also said the plan is to host a wildland fire truck and emergency response vehicle in Summerland as well as Carpinteria, and a smaller station than planned wouldn’t be able to accommodate that.

Click here for more information about Measure Z from the county Elections Office.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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