September 26, 2022 – At the regular meeting on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, the Laguna Woods City Council conceptually approved, in non-binding concept, a series of actions that, if implemented, would result in the long-term lease of approximately 0.32 acres of the 0.56 acre City Centre Park property for use as a new Orange County Fire Authority fire station. The actions are contingent on several factors, including approval by the State of California, and final approval by both the City Council and Orange County Fire Authority Board of Directors.
“The City shares the Orange County Fire Authority’s interest in improving response times by bringing an additional fire station to Laguna Woods. While much work remains to be done to make a new fire station a reality, the City Council’s conceptual approval moves us closer to that goal,” said Christopher Macon, Laguna Woods City Manager. “This is an opportunity for the City to partner with the Orange County Fire Authority to both improve public safety and enhance the portion of City Centre Park that would remain.”
According to analysis by the Orange County Fire Authority, a new fire station at the City Centre Park property would most significantly improve response times in the areas of Laguna Woods west of Moulton Parkway, although benefits would extend citywide and into neighboring cities. Notable improvements would be seen in Laguna Woods Village gates 8, 9, 10, and 11, including The Towers at Laguna Woods Village. Laguna Woods’ existing fire station – Station 22 on Paseo de Valencia – would continue to operate.
Due to the number and complexity of actions required before final approvals are possible, the earliest that construction might potentially begin on a new fire station is anticipated to be Fiscal Year 2024-25 (July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025).
The specific actions approved by the City Council are as follows:
Approved, in non-binding concept, the long-term lease of approximately 0.32 acres of the City Centre Park property (24121 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Woods, CA 92637; Assessor’s Parcel Number: 616-021-18) for use as a new Orange County Fire Authority fire station and authorized the City Manager and City Attorney to take actions and incur costs necessary to:
(a) Comply with applicable state laws regarding the lease of park property for non-park purposes, and other state laws as may be determined to apply;
(b) Unencumber the property of deed restrictions that would otherwise preclude the construction and operation of a fire station;
(c) Negotiate – for future consideration by the City Council – agreements with the Orange County Fire Authority for the construction and operation of a fire station including, but not limited to, a long-term land-lease agreement;
(d) Partner with the Orange County Fire Authority to contact surrounding property owners to discuss a potential new fire station and solicit input on factors to be considered during any future design, construction, and operation;
(e) Coordinate with the Orange County Fire Authority on matters affecting the design of a fire station including, but not limited to, modifications and easements related to traffic control devices, medians, sidewalks, and other City property, and public access to the remaining portion of City Centre Park; and
(f) Negotiate and enter into cost recovery agreements with the Orange County Fire Authority to reimburse the City for those costs associated with this project which are mutually agreed upon as the Orange County Fire Authority’s responsibility.