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As Population Grows, Goleta Plans New Fire Station for West End of Town

That area of the city does not lie within the closest station’s required 5-minute response time

The city of Goleta is still in the planning process for Fire Station 10, which is proposed for the corner of Hollistere Avenue and Cathedral Oaks Road in Western Goleta. Click to view larger
The city of Goleta is still in the planning process for Fire Station 10, which is proposed for the corner of Hollistere Avenue and Cathedral Oaks Road in Western Goleta. (Contributed)

If a fire breaks out in western Goleta, the first responders come from Fire Station 11, at 6901 Frey Way along Storke Road.

Though the maximum ratio of residents to firefighters in an area is supposed to be 4,000 to 1, Station 11 serves 22,500 Goletans — about twice as many as it should.

In order to ease that burden and expand emergency services — not to mention make sure every resident lives within a station’s 5-minute response time — Goleta is planning a new fire station for the west end of town.

Still in the early design stages, Fire Station 10 is planned for 7952 Hollister Ave., at the corner of Cathedral Oaks Road, and would cover roughly everything west and northwest of Cannon Green Drive.

“The history behind Fire Station 10 goes back almost 50 years,” said Vyto Adomaitis, Goleta’s neighborhood services and public safety director, at a community workshop Thursday evening at Ellwood Elementary School, near the proposed site.

“In the 1980s, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department determined that a new fire station was needed in the western Goleta Valley due to higher response times and population growth,” he said.

Station 10 would be operated by the county Fire Department, and would be the city’s fourth fire station.

Designs for the station are all preliminary, Adomaitis stressed, but the current plans call for an 11,600-square-foot facility across the street from the Sandpiper golf course.

The one-story building would have a three-apparatus bay — where the firefighting and emergency vehicles are stored — along with an emergency generator and an above-ground fueling facility.

A community meeting room is also planned for the station, and could host events such as Community Emergency Response Team training or workshops like Thursday’s.

The city of Goleta acquired the site in 2009, Adomaitis said, and in 2010, the City Council designated it the site for a future fire station.

As a gateway to the city, he added, the final product will be especially nice from an architectural standpoint.

Funding the project are city development-impact fees. Adomaitis said $6.3 million has already been set aside for the project.

Though each station has an area of town that it primarily serves, multiple stations often respond to incident such a structure fire.

Each shift at Station 10 will have at least three personnel at all times, Adomaitis said, with a planned fire captain, fire engineer and firefighter.

Having a station out there would be especially comforting, he added, after the hydrogen sulfide stench recently experienced by the surrounding area, and the persistent concerns neighbors have about oil company Venoco Inc.’s Ellwood Onshore Facility.

One worry expressed by a couple of the residents in attendance was the location of the above-ground fueling facility, which is designed close to the border with the adjacent residential neighborhood.

A few others expressed concern over the removal of eucalyptus trees on the site, which help block the wind.

Eucalyptus trees are especially flammable, county Fire Chief Eric Peterson pointed out, and tend to drop large branches on whatever’s below them.

Before construction can begin, the project still requires final design, environmental review, city permitting, Coastal Commission permitting and for the land to be stabilized, since it is prone to erosion, according to the city.

Construction itself, Adomaitis said, will then take about a year.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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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