Neighbors Not Pleased with Proposal for Los Angeles Fire Station

The city of Los Angeles ambitious plans to replace the Valley’s oldest fire station is running into opposition from residents of the Van Nuys neighborhood where the state-of-the-art facility is to be built.

Residents, many of whom said they are considering legal action if it is approved, complain the city failed to give adequate notice on the plans to replace Fire Station 39 with a new two-story facility at the intersection of Oxnard Street and Vesper Avenue.

In planning for the 18,533-square-foot, $37.1 million facility on what had been land owned by the Department of Water and Power, officials said they would have space for two fire engines, one ladder truck, two rescue ambulances and a command vehicle. It would have living quarters for on-duty personnel, a fitness and wellness area, office space, a conference room and an above-ground, 4,000 gallon fuel tank.

The Board of Public Works approved the negative declaration — issued if officials believe there are no major environmental issues that need to be reviewed or mitigated on a property — in mid-August. The City Council’s Public Works Committee is scheduled to hear the matter on Sept. 4.

Jeffrey Lynn, one of the residents, said the station is within 50 feet of some homes. “The doors to the station will have engines coming right at us,” Lynn said, adding he believes the city failed to look at alternative sites or do a community impact study.

Lynn said residents believe the station might receive as many as 50 calls a day, providing no sense of peace for those living in the neighborhood. “We are being attacked,” he said. “The city hid this from us, and we have had to scramble to protect our homes.”

The residents hired two consultants, who looked at noise and other factors and said they believed a full environmental impact report should be prepared instead of adoption of a negative declaration.

Councilman Tom LaBonge and Councilwoman Nury Martinez, the two officials representing either the direct area or the area adjacent to the site, said they support the fire stations.

“It’s right next to an auto dealership, and they will be sensitive to the neighborhood,” LaBonge said. “There is nothing like a fire station in a neighborhood. They are good neighbors, and this will be good for all of Van Nuys.”

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