MORAGA -- A majority of the Moraga-Orinda Fire District board of directors has approved spending $1.2 million to buy land in Lafayette for a new fire station, despite fierce opposition from some district residents.

MOFD Directors Stephen Anderson, Vice President Alex Evans and board president John Wyro greenlighted the purchase at a special MOFD board meeting Monday that was also Fire Chief Randy Bradley's last. Bradley is heading to Modesto to become the fire chief there.

They also approved a "joint powers agreement" with the city of Lafayette that will allow the city to purchase the property on MOFD's behalf, as the fire district is legally prohibited from buying land outside its boundaries. The Lafayette City Council must approve that agreement before the transaction takes place.

MOFD Director Fred Weil opposed the land purchase.

This new jointly operated station would replace a Contra Costa Fire Protection District station in west Lafayette that the county closed in January, a victim of budget cuts. This new Lorinda Lane station also would replace the station on Via Las Cruces in Orinda, on which MOFD has already spent about $275,000 to rebuild.

The Contra Costa County board of supervisors unanimously voted last week to allow ConFire Chief Daryl Louder to negotiate an agreement with MOFD in which ConFire would retain some flexibility about when it would start paying for staffing of the new firehouse. Louder suggests proposing MOFD waive ConFire's contributions for five years while the county district's finances stabilize.


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