A four-acre vacant parcel  at the intersection of Soquel Canyon Parkway and Pipeline Avenue in Chino Hills will be the site of a new fire station. 

The Chino Hills City Council and the Chino Valley Fire Board of Directors approved the same letter of intent Wednesday night during their respective meetings.

The new Station 68 is proposed on the south side of Soquel Canyon Parkway where Pipeline comes to an end.

Fire Chief Tim Shackelford said the station will improve response times within that general area of the fire district as well as other areas of Chino Hills.

The chief said it is difficult to predict a firm date for construction because the agreement needs to be finalized, an architect needs to be hired, the project has to go to bid and environmental issues would have to be addressed. 

If the process goes smoothly, he estimates construction could begin in mid-2021. 

Coverage gap

Chino Hills Mayor Art Bennett said the station would fill a gap as far as enhancing response time. 

The gap in coverage is between Station 62 at Sagebrush Street and Butterfield Ranch Road in southern Chino Hills and Station 66 on Peyton Drive near Grand Avenue in northern Chino Hills.

The fire station has been included in the city’s longterm plans since at least 2005. 

The site was originally in the area of Pipeline Avenue and Woodview Road but plans fluctuated over the years as the population grew and housing developments changed. 

“We came to an agreement for the station a long time ago  but it was just working out the money,” said  Mayor Bennett.

 Firming up details

In 2016, the two entities formed ad hoc committees to come to a resolution. 

The committees combed through documents, previous agreements, and the city’s incorporation resolution approved by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) that outlines the collection of fees for fire protection. 

Mayor Bennett said the city and fire district have been working on details for a firm agreement for several months. 

Chief Shackelford said the process took longer than he anticipated because the city and fire district were dealing with other pressing issues.

He said the process moved along much quicker once Benjamin Montgomery became the city manager.

The chief said the cost of the facility is unknown. 

“Once a design is completed, the project will go to bid,” he said.

 Arrangements

The City of Chino Hills will provide the land at the Pipeline-Soquel Canyon Parkway location and $8 million for the construction of the fire station and purchase the apparatus, Chief Shackelford said.

“Based on information from other fire departments that are bidding/building fire stations, current construction costs are about $800 per square feet,” he said.

The fire district will provide the city with .62 acres of property at 4040 Eucalyptus Avenue, the site of former Fire Station 62 which has been vacant for about 20 years, the chief said.

City attorney Mark Hensley said the plan involves the transfer of land and development impact fees to the fire district for the construction of the fire station.

He said there will be hearings before the city council and possibly the planning commission with regard to an agreement.

Chief Shackelford said he appreciates the patience and persistence of the fire board of directors and the city council to complete the process. 

“I’m looking forward to getting this completed as it will improve service to the community with better response times and provide additional staffing depth for larger incidents,” he said. 

Ironic timing

 Mayor Bennett said it was a coincidence that the location of the future fire station is near the ridgeline the Blue Ridge Fire came over the night before the letter of intent was announced. 

He said both entities cancelled their meetings Tuesday night because of the fire.

“The timing of the letter of intent is ironic,” he said.

 The station would be the fourth in Chino Hills. 

The other location, Station 64, is at 16231 Canon Lane in Carbon Canyon.

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