Officials unanimously agreed this week to pursue an exterior architectural style modeled after Lido House boutique hotel, dubbed “Newport nautical” by the hotel builder, for the Newport Beach Fire Department’s proposed Lido station on the Balboa Peninsula.
Newport Beach City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday in favor of the staff recommended conceptual site floor plan, the “Lido” exterior architectural style, and the project construction cost estimate. Councilman Kevin Muldoon recused himself because of a business conflict.
Overall, Council members expressed support and enthusiasm for the project.
“I’m really excited for the groundbreaking on this item,” Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill said.
Councilman Brad Avery said he’s excited that there will be a new fire station on the Balboa Peninsula “in the right place.”
“The fire department team got what they wanted here, they know what they need,” Avery said.
The existing fire station on 32nd Street was constructed in 1952. It’s dated, often in need of repairs, and not up-to-date with the current needs of the fire station, explained Senior Civil Engineer Peter Tauscher.
The city purchased the property at 2807 Newport Blvd., where McDonald’s used to sit, for about $4 million.
The “McFire Station,” as a couple of Peninsula residents have dubbed it, will include a three-garage apparatus bay and lighthouse architectural feature.
At previous community town hall meetings, the various style options were presented to residents: Lido style, which includes an architectural lighthouse, a blue and white color scheme, and a simple roof; urban contemporary, with a flat roof and basic lines; a more modern style with a red color scheme; and a traditional brick style.
Option one with the “Lido” style was the clear favorite of residents at the town halls.
After discussions with the fire department, the 11,068-square-foot floor plan is proposed to include a kitchen, day room, fitness area, secure medical storage room, 30-person locker turnout, and 12 dormitory rooms. The site will also include parking for all fire personnel.
The staff is also proposing to reconfigure the parking along 28th Street, Public Works Deputy Director/City Engineer Jim Houlihan explained. Plans include 15 angled parking spots, which will replace the current eight parallel spaces and removing three stalls in front of the fire station. A net of plus four, he confirmed.
The project will also include some improvements to the landscaping and sidewalk, including creating some “bulb-outs” at crosswalks. A new signal will be added to the southbound Newport Boulevard and 28th Street intersection.
A separate, detached public restroom will also be included on the property.
Parking, landscaping, crosswalk improvements, and the signal are part of a separate CIP with separate funding, Houlihan explained. They are scheduled to be installed prior to the fire station being built, he added.
The overall project cost is estimated at $9.56 million, including $7.19 for construction of the facility.
The original plan was to sell the existing property, O’Neill pointed out.
“In order to make this penciled out that was something we had planned for, as a Council,” when they approved the budget in the first place, O’Neill explained, “so when we get to that point, it’s worth the Council remembering.”
Staff hopes design and permitting will be completed by June, with construction starting in January 2021 and taking about 17 months.
Marshall “Duffy” Duffield commented that he hopes the new fire station will have a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhood.
“This project and where it’s located will definitely have a type of calming effect,” Duffield said. “That’s a late-night area.”
That has been a fundamental part of the justification for this location, Mayor Diane Dixon added, considering the “mass migration” that happens around 2–3 a.m. along the boulevard, looking for something to eat and to use the restroom.
“A public facility is better than the sidewalk,” Dixon said.
Although not everyone was on board.
It’s a “horrible” spot for a fire station, resident Mitch Mathis commented.
“That whole property over there has been a nightmare,” he said.
Also, the perceived property value of his home near the fire station will decrease, Mathis added.
Mathis was concerned that the response time for calls would increase.
The goal is to keep response time averages less than four to six minutes, NBFD Chief Jeff Boyles explained, and that will still be the case for all locations this station covers.
“It’s a little bit of a give and take,” he said.
When they were studying response times from the new station, the very tip of Lido Isle was the most concerning location, Boyles noted. The move will make it a slightly longer route to that neighborhood, at most by about 45 seconds during the study, he confirmed.
Time will decrease to other parts of the peninsula, Boyles added. Overall, it’s a more central location, so an engine can get down to either end of the peninsula quicker.
Other public comments included considering environmentally friendly features, the setup and purpose of the town hall meetings, the new signal, and more.