Atherton drafts angry letter to fire district over study | March 15, 2017 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - March 15, 2017

Atherton drafts angry letter to fire district over study

by Barbara Wood

Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman has often protested that local government entities do not include the fire district when planning new developments, roadway changes or other projects that will impact the fire district and its ability to provide emergency services.

This time, however, Atherton is protesting that the fire district isn't involving the town in making decisions that will impact its residents.

At its March 15 meeting, the Atherton City Council will review a strongly worded letter to fire district board president Peter Carpenter, complaining that a consultant's report on future locations of district fire stations was done without Atherton's input, despite the town's requests to be included.

"In response to Atherton's request for additional fire district presence in Atherton," the draft letter says, the consultant's report concluded that Atherton's single existing station, on Almendral Avenue, should eventually be moved out of Atherton.

The report also concluded that there is no need for a fire station in Atherton's new civic center complex, answering a question the town "had not asked," the draft letter says. "Atherton had reached this same conclusion previously and instead the Town requested an emergency medical response unit, participation in the (emergency operations center), or planning for future growth to expand services to residents," the letter says.

Doing the study without input from the town is a "blatant lack of regard" for its concerns and "disheartening and counterproductive," the draft letter says.

"We hope that our agencies can return to a more open, cooperative and collaborative relationship," the letter says. It asks for more outreach to the Atherton community and a presentation to the City Council about "the issues and options being discussed" as well as an opportunity for the council to be involved in the "final decision-making" about fire service delivery affecting Atherton.


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