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New fire station construction gets approval

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — City Council unanimously approved a measure on Aug. 26 to replace a fire station after changes were made to the original design.
In response to the Planning Commission’s earlier concerns about an imposing partition separating the facility from Interstate 5, the architect redesigned a large sound barrier wall fortifying the new station. One commissioner commented last month that the original design was “too masculine,” while another said it looked like a mausoleum. The commission split its vote on the fire station project 2-2 because of the wall issue.
The new design for the 320-foot-long, 14-foot-tall wall features a dark gray wave pattern with round, clear bricks that resemble bubbles. The sound barrier will go along the eastern edge of the proposed site at 618 Birmingham Drive. Architect Lou Dominy said the texture and color changes were a reflection of the city’s agricultural heritage. “We were trying to allude to the greenhouses that made Encinitas what it is,” Dominy said.
Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks said he liked the new design. “The nice little bubbles are a marked improvement over just the standard block wall,” he said.
Mayor Maggie Houlihan concurred. “What might seem like a minor modification I think is a significant improvement to the look and feel of it,” she said.
The new station is proposed to replace one on Mackinnon Avenue that dates from 1960. Retrofitting the existing station was not an option according to the Planning Department staff.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth, a Cardiffian, complemented the designers. “You’ve done a lovely job with a lousy location,” she said, referring to the new site. She offered one change to the plans. While the staff report refers to the facility as the “Cardiff” fire station, she said the actual name is “Cardiff-by-the-Sea.”
“Don’t forget the “by-the-Sea,” Barth instructed the planning staff. “We get a little fussy about that,” she added.
The single-story, 6,330-square-foot facility will house two fire trucks and be replete with sustainable design elements, including south facing-sloped roofs to maximize solar collection. In an effort to receive LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification, architects Dominy and Wayne Holtan of the San Diego-based firm Dominy + Associates Architects @ domusstudio LLP created plans to meet the specifications.
The designation was established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. LEED is the nation’s pre-eminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
The next step will be finding grant money for the project according to fire Division Chief Scott Henry. Henry and city staff are seeking approximately $2 million in federal economic stimulus grant money. “Our project is very much in line with what the feds looking for,” Houlihan said, referring to the LEED certification element of the new facility.
The grant process is competitive Henry said, with only 100 projects receiving funding. “Maybe, just maybe we’ll be very lucky,” Houlihan said.

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