The San Geronimo Valley Planning Group has been a strong supporter of Marin County’s plans to purchase the 157-acre San Geronimo Commons from the Trust for Public Land for open space, and we support the adoption of the San Geronimo Fire Station Project Mitigated Negative Declaration (MitNegDec).
While we would prefer the entire property remain as open space for public recreation, we know purchase of the 157 acres is contingent on the County’s ability to construct a new fire station headquarters on the 22-acre clubhouse parcel at the corner of Nicasio Valley Road and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. The MitNegDec allows this process to move forward.
Our decision was not determined in a vacuum. We have been assured by Chief Jason Webber that he and his staff intend to involve the community from the beginning in the design process - from helping to choose an architect to providing input on what the final project will look like. Prior to supporting the MitNegDec, members of our group also toured the existing Woodacre headquarters with Chief Webber. What we saw made the need for a new facility apparent.
The current fire house is old, outdated and undersized for the number of personnel stationed there. The sleeping quarters are small, cramped and not designed to house today's co-ed fire force.
There is no room on the existing property to build larger facilities. The current truck barn, built decades ago, is woefully undersized for the modern, larger trucks it now houses. Trucks are forced to park very close together, creating a hazard when responding to an emergency. Also because of lack of space, equipment is forced to park outside.
In responding to an emergency call, fire engines and ambulances must travel approximately one mile along Railroad Avenue, a heavily populated residential area in Woodacre, to reach Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. This greatly slows response time when seconds count and also creates an additional hazard for the numerous families with children and pets who live along the street.
For these reasons, the PlanningGroup supports moving and modernizing the fire station headquarters so we are better prepared forboth emergencies and inevitable wildfires. We believe having 135 acres of the former golf course for public open space, creek restoration, and enhanced wildlife corridor use is worth the price of losing 22 acres of open space to a new fire station.
Read the that preceded the MitNegDec recommendation. To stay informed, on the County's page, entitled: "San Geronimo Fire Station Initial Study." (Simply click on the "Subscribe to this page" button in the upper right side.)
During the course of this multi-year process, the Planning Group will be monitoring and weighing in on a variety of issues, including:
• Size of the new fire station
• Reduction of visual impact, including both architectural design and landscaping
• Proposed training tower: is this necessary; if so, size and placement
• Location of accessory structures
• Excess pavement
• Proposed large driveway on Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
• Operational noise and outdoor lighting
• Retention ponds: are these necessary; if so, placement
We look forward to many opportunities to join with others in our community to make sure the design and aesthetics of our new fire station headquarters maintain the rural character of our Valley and result in something we can all be proud of for many more decades to come.
PROPOSED NEW MARIN COUNTY FIRE STATION HEADQUARTERS