Montecito Fire Station 3
updated: Oct 12, 2012, 11:58 AM
Source: Montecito Fire Protection
STATION 3 !
A third fire station in Montecito's east end is on the horizon and I would like to give a little overview and
history of the project thus far. Before I do, I would like to introduce myself as your newly appointed Fire
My name is Chip Hickman. I was appointed to the position of Fire Chief on June 1st of this year. I have
30 years of experience delivering emergency services. My first responder career started on an
ambulance in Ventura County followed by six years as a Paramedic in Santa Barbara; I've now been a
licensed Paramedic for 28 years. In 1990 I started my career with Montecito Fire Protection District as
one of its first Paramedic Firefighters. More recently I was the initial Incident Commander on the Tea
Fire and was assigned as a Structure Protection Group Supervisor on the Jesusita Fire. I am also on the
board of Fire District's Association of California (FDAC). That is some of my history, but let me get to
what I'd really like to talk about: the Station Three project.
The vision of a third fire station on the east end of the district has been a plan of the District's for more
than 20 years. We are committed to protecting you, your property and the environment. We all know
that residential growth on the east end is possible, and is already part of the Montecito Community Plan.
The District's mission is to deliver professional and timely emergency services to the current and future
needs of the community. The addition of Station 3 addresses the areas in eastern Montecito that do not
currently meet our response standards, and supports the community's long term plan.
Land acquisition will not get any less expensive, more available or less contentious in the future. The
extensive site study (Available on our web site www.montecitofire.com) performed by the District in
2007 identified 14 possible sites. Of these 14 properties, there were only two sites that met the majority
of essential and desirable criteria; both being on the Jackson Ranch. The proposed location is directly
across the street from 2349 East Valley Rd. It is ideal because of location, size and the fact that it has
very few neighbors in close proximity. Additionally, this location was the only location that had the
closest thing to a willing seller. The parcel is 2.55 acres of a much larger existing parcel. Currently, the
property is used as a lemon orchard but has been zoned Residential 2-E-1 for many years.
An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been completed and certified for the property. The project has
been reviewed by the Montecito Association's Land Use Committee four times prior to going to the
Montecito Board of Architectural Review (MBAR). The MBAR gave conceptual approval with Board
Member Sam Maphis stating, "I would want this to be an exhibit of how people should design their
properties". Our next presentation will be to the Montecito Planning Commission on October 24th.
The challenge we now face is a law suit that has been filed by an entity recently formed by the owner of
property directly across the street from the proposed fire station site. The entity is called the "Montecito
Agricultural Foundation." The Foundation's complaint is that the EIR was procedurally flawed. The
District's counsel feels very strongly that the law suit is without merit and that the EIR was processed
properly, and we are more than willing to address any issues if it is determined to need additional
We understand and are sensitive to neighbor concerns regarding views, aesthetics, or diminution in
value and want to minimize any negative impacts the introduction of a fire station in that area may
However, the District has experienced these same concerns from neighbors in the past, with both of our
other station developments. I am unaware of any neighbor suffering ill effects from our existing fire
stations and a few have even expressed to me that they enjoy our presence. Regardless, the law suit
exists and it is costing the District tens of thousands of dollars per month to defend the EIR.
Over the past seven years the District's governing board and staff have put aside the funds to fully pay
for the purchase of the land, the estimated construction costs of the fire station, and a new fire engine.
It is our intention to absorb its annual costs for maintenance and staffing within the allocated revenues
we receive. What this means to you is more service at no additional cost to the tax payer.
Your taxes will not increase and no fees will be assessed to build and equip this new fire station.
The following bullet points address the justifications for the addition of a third station:
• The east end of the District has emergency response times in excess of the 5 minute standard.
• Brain cells start to die without oxygen after 5 minutes.
• Structure fires will develop from an incipient fire to a fully involved single room fire within 4 minutes
(see video at www.montecitofire.com). Minutes matter.
• Response time to the Bella Vista area can be as much as 12 minutes currently and would be reduced to
5-6 min. A 6 minute delay could be the difference between an offensive or a defensive approach to a
• It is reasonable to expect a structure fire to be well involved by the time we currently arrive on scene
in eastern end of the District. If it can be caught early, it has a greater chance of keeping it to a room
and contents fire. A third station would also increase the chance of survivability for the occupants.
• The east end residents would be provided response times equal to the rest of the District.
• Home owners on the east end of the District may benefit from lower insurance premiums due to the
closer proximity of a fire station.
• A third station improves overall fire response and protection throughout the entire District by
increasing the weight (number of firefighters and engines) and speed of the fire attack.
• A third station reduces our dependency on mutual aid resource assistance by 50% on an initial
structure fire response.
• The proposed location would be a much more efficient response to freeway incidents.
• The training component included in the new station is something our District desperately needs.
Training is absolutely vital to delivering the best emergency service. Currently we are dependent on
privately owned property to accomplish training.
• The size of the property enhances our ability to park and store the equipment needs of the District.
We'd like to hear your opinion on this issue.
Email us at: Station3@montecitofire.com
Or write us:
Station 3 Input
c/o Montecito Fire Protection District
595 San Ysidro Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
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