Daily Planet Staff
Residents will have an opportunity to offer suggestions and voice their concerns about the proposed new hills Fire Station 7 in a public meeting Tuesday night.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Northbrae Community Church at 941 The Alameda.
The Berkeley Fire Department has received approval from seismic engineers on the safety of a site to build a state-of-the art station near Shasta Road and Park Gate Road, said Asst. Fire Chief David Orth.
“We don’t feel there are other suitable sites available,” he said.
The new station would replace the Station 7 at 2931 Shasta Road. Orth said the existing station could be seismically upgraded but questioned what would happen to coverage while No. 7 was displaced.
The community meeting is a part of the Environmental Impact Report process to insure that the community will have a voice in what the city decides to do in providing fire protection for the hills, he said.
“We definitely know there are some people out there with real concerns, and we want them to have a chance to start talking about those things,” he said.
The city is working with five architects to make preliminary estimates of how large rooms and other areas would look, but no designs have been done, he said.
Peter Cukor, a neighbor who lives near the proposed site, believes the “industrial” size of the proposed station is inappropriate for the rural, residential character of the neighborhood.
Cukor also criticized the city’s intention to sue itself to get permission from the court to get approval to alter the provisions set forth in Measure G, the $55 million bond issue approved by Berkeley voters in 1992.
“We would like an additional fire fighting facility as opposed to replacement, and what was promised in Measure G,” said the homeowner and software developer.
“We think what the city offers is less protection than promised and less than we paid for.”
Councilmember Betty Olds, who represents the Berkeley Hills, said that “a lot of people would like a separate room for the community in a new station.” She noted that there is no such facility now.
“Everybody on the council thinks it is definitely needed,” she said. “We just want things to work out. Hopefully it will come around sometime in May for approval.”