NEWPORT BEACH – The city will move forward with plans to spend $4 million to purchase land on the Balboa Peninsula that will serve as the new site for one of its now eight fire stations.
In a 6-1 vote on Tuesday, Sept. 12, with Mayor Kevin Muldoon dissenting, the city council endorsed purchasing a closed McDonald’s restaurant at 2708 Newport Boulevard that will be used as the future site for Fire Station No. 2.
The existing fire facility, located at 475 32nd St., is too small at 11,612 square-feet, has insufficient parking for fire personnel and does not provide proper circulation for fire vehicles responding to emergencies, according to a staff report.
The facility houses one of the city’s three paramedic ambulances and two transport ambulances, which must be parked behind the station because inadequate space when a fire truck and fire engine are inside.
In addition, the fire truck has to back into the bay, requiring firefighters to stop traffic.
“I think this is going to be really good for the Balboa community and for our visitors to have this station right out front and open, and really for the fire department to operate in a safer manner,” Councilman Brad Avery said. “It’s just an exceptional location.”
Since the new station would be located less than a mile from the current site, fire response times or traffic would not be affected, the staff report said.
The new site, which is 17,693 square-feet and has access to three streets, was not originally for sale and was planned to be redeveloped into a retail center. The owners agreed to discuss selling the property after receiving a cold-call from the city, which was inquiring about possibly relocating the fire station there.
A handful of residents at Tuesday’s meeting took issue with the purchase, voicing concerns over potential siren noise close to their homes.
“Our fire stations are in the neighborhoods and we have people surrounding our fire stations and we are sensitive to that,” said Fire Chief Chip Duncan. “The operative word for us is neighbor.”
Duncan said fire crews at station No. 2 would use Balboa Boulevard when responding to calls, which would lessen the need to use sirens on certain calls.
The fire department receives less than five complaints annually regarding siren noise, Duncan said. Seven of the city’s eight stations are located in residential areas.
Councilman Jeff Herdman, who lives less than a block from the Balboa Island fire station, said the noise…