by Al Hooper, special to the Woodinville Weekly
On May 6, the Commissioners of the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District voted 3-2 to award the $250,627 lowest base bid to M.J. Ness for the remodeling and expansion of Station 35 behind the Cottage Lake Safeway.
Commissioners David Callon, Don Leggett, and Ben May voted in favor of the base bid; Commissioner Jim O'Dell and Chair Sue Dickson voted against it, favoring instead Alternative I, which would have added an additional vehicle bay, a decontamination room, 1,190 square feet of storage, and two dorms for a total of 7,695 square feet.
"The direction the fire district is going on the remodel of Station 35 is a responsible commitment and not excessive," Callon said. "This remodel should serve the needs of the citizens 10 to 15 years into the future."
Dickson said she wanted to see the alternative added to the base bid because of statistics that show the need for additional space five to 10 years from now.
"It looked like we would be saving more money by doing the alternative now rather than later," said Dickson, contending that while the base bid does save taxpayers money now, the architectural drawings alone could run $80,000 for the future remodel when it's needed.
The approved base bid of $250,627, in addition to about $100,000 for drawings and the permit process, will build six dorm rooms, a third shower, a new roof, gutters, interior and exterior painting, siding repairs, new flooring, carpeting and molding throughout, and new countertops, in addition to some shifting of room uses.
During the discussion of Commissioner Callon's motion, Battalion Chief Cliff Griffin summarized the differences between a disinfectant room and a decontamination room, noting that the district currently does not have a decon room and is required to have at least one somewhere within its boundaries.
The commissioners replied that while the alternate plan does include a decon room, there was also one scheduled to be included in the Station 32 project when it is built downtown.
Citizens voice support for Station 32
The commissioners heard from several residents and business members of the community when discussion turned to Station 32, proposed for the downtown area.
Don Sirkin, a property owner, Terry Call of the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce, Gene Johnson from the proposed Leisure Care project downgown, Scott Bjella of Allied Construction, and Don Bingham and Maudie Eastwood of Canterbury Square all urged the commission to move forward as rapidly as possible with the project.
But opposition came from the Northshore Youth Soccer Association, which wants to use the land for sports fields, and the Hollywood Hill Association (HHA), which is against construction of a station in the agricultural production district.
Citizens Advisory Committee member Janelle Mullins responded to both, alleging that the soccer association had approached the former property owner only once concerning a possible purchase, and questioning why the HHA would attempt to block construction of a downtown station at a site which would become the closest station to respond to any emergency arising on Hollywood Hill.
The board's word on Station 32
"We have a commitment to the citizens to build that station so it has very quick access to downtown and Hollywood Hill," said Commissioner Ben May.
May reiterated that the district has halted progress because of the threat of opposition and litigation during the conditional use permit (CUP) process, required because of the agricultural land siting.
"We did not know (the land) was in the agricultural production district," May added. "We're still working on a land swap with King County because we don't want to use the taxpayers' money on litigation."
The proposed "swap" has King County trying to find another suitable parcel within the district's planning area to trade for the three acres on the South Bypass, which the county would then own. Discussions to date have been to develop the land and adjacent lands as active recreation fields.
May said that if the swap with King County does not work out, the Fire District will go ahead and apply for the CUP, anticipating that the issue will be resolved one way or another within the next six months and that construction would begin within the next year.
The Board of Commissioners meets regularly at 6 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at the District Headquarters, 19900 144th Ave. NE, Woodinville.
Staff reporter Jeff Switzer contributed to this report.