The County of San Diego has begun the process of a new fire station for Palomar Mountain.
A 5-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote Nov. 5 authorized the director of the county’s Department of General Services or his designee to work with the San Diego County Regional Fire Authority along with the county’s Public Safety Group executive office to identify the required building specifications and conduct a site search for properties suitable for a new fire station in the Palomar Mountain area.
The supervisors also approved in principle the purchase of a property for a future fire station and authorized the director of the Department of General Services to negotiate the purchase of the required property, execute an option agreement, and return to the supervisors for approval to exercise the option.
“This is just a first step,” said Supervisor Bill Horn.
In 2011, the county service area providing fire protection to Palomar Mountain was added into the San Diego County Regional Fire Authority. Volunteer fire departments within the SDCRFA retain their autonomy and work together with the paid firefighters covering those areas. The SDCRFA contracts with the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Company to provide fire protection and emergency medical services for the Palomar Mountain area.
The existing fire station on a 1.87-acre parcel at 21610 Crestline Road does not have adequate living facilities or storage space for apparatus and other equipment. The Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Company provides 24-hour staffing, which necessitates permanent living and sleeping quarters. The volunteers currently use the adjacent community center for living and sleeping quarters.
“I think they need a top-notch facility,” Horn said of the volunteer firefighters. “I think the current station is somewhat limited.”
The use of the community center to house volunteer firefighters was not intended as a long-term solution, and the community itself seeks to have the community center facilities returned for community use.
The county has investigated strategies to improve the fire station on the existing site, although during the planning phases several issues were determined which could hinder a construction project on the existing site including parcel size and historical and environmental considerations.
The SDCRFA and the Department of General Services have worked together to conduct an assessment of the existing station needs and site constraints. A space validation conducted by the Department of General Services has determined that a facility of approximately 9,500 square feet will be needed to accommodate the SDCRFA’s needs in the Palomar Mountain area. Factors which will be considered when evaluating potential properties include travel and response times, roadway line-of-sight, and other safety considerations.
“We look forward to having a new station sometime in the future,” Horn said.