MARTINEZ -- County supervisors are allowing the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District to continue exploring a joint fire station in Lafayette with the Moraga-Orinda Fire District despite growing concerns from some residents about equity, response times and the suitability of the proposed site.
The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to allow Con Fire Chief Daryl Louder to continue "serious" negotiations with Moraga-Orinda chief Randy Bradley to jointly build, operate and staff a new fire station on the Orinda-Lafayette border. Supervisor Karen Mitchoff opposed the talks.
The approval came a day after a majority of Moraga-Orinda directors voted to proceed with informal negotiations despite an outcry from residents living near the project site. Those negotiations have been underway since January when Con Fire approached the district about operating a joint facility following the closure of a station in west Lafayette due to budget cuts.
Moraga-Orinda would close its station on Via Las Cruces as part of the consolidation -- a move some Orinda residents on Monday opposed. The district's board president Frank Sperling once again voted against the merger arguing that Moraga-Orinda was bailing out Con Fire. Director Steve Anderson, who supported the measure, argued the $1 million annual savings was an opportunity to ensure Moraga-Orinda's longterm sustainability.
The approvals will allow the district to continue negotiating the purchase of a Lafayette property where the new station would be built. The chiefs are planning to bring a final contract back to their boards for approval in May.
The Lafayette Planning Commission will hold a special study session Monday to discuss the station, and Moraga-Orinda district will hold a public workshop on the consolidation March 20 in Orinda.