Encinitas approves lease for fire station

ENCINITAS — The City Council approved a lease agreement Wednesday that will house a mini-fire substation. 

The station will serve the rural community of Olivenhain.

The vote on the multi-year lease agreement was 4-1, with Deputy Mayor Kristin Gaspar opposed. The lease requires the city pay $1,700 a month in rent for an office building at 770 Rancho Santa Fe Road beginning July 1, 2012. The rent would increase by $500 on April 1, 2013. Monthly payments would accelerate by an extra four-percent starting July 1, 2013.

Gaspar said she could not support the motion because she had concerns about the increasing cost of the rent on the building. “Four percent is a pretty steep increase,” she said via teleconference during the meeting. According to Gaspar, who said she had negotiated several leases for her husband’s physical therapy practice, a typical figure for a standard rental increase would be 2.5 to three percent.

City Fire Department staff said the rent is going up in April 2013 because that’s when the city takes full occupancy of the building. Currently, a chiropractor shares the space.

Gaspar also noted that the city begins paying rent under the agreement before any tenant improvements are complete. Mayor Jerome Stocks said he’s negotiated several commercial leases as well and that sometimes the landlord calls the shots.

Last month city fire officials provided the council with five options for decreasing emergency response times to Olivenhain. The cheapest, and most unpopular option among residents was renting office space on Rancho Santa Fe Road with an ambulance for 12 hours a day at an estimated cost of $322,000 annually.

The most expensive choice was a portable, full service fire station building and a brush fire truck on Lone Jack Road and staffing it 24 hours a day at an estimated cost of $1.65 million a year.

Fire Chief Scott Henry recommended the council select the least costly option.

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