After three years of trying to find a new home to replace its undersized, ill-equipped Glendale office, the California Highway Patrol has taken an option on a site in Altadena.
Although the move, announced last week, still requires approval of county officials, John Johnstone, CHP regional manager of facilities, said that he expects no delays and that construction of the new office could begin as early as September.
"This thing has finally come to an end," Johnstone said. "We've got an option on that land and we've got it tied down. It should go smoothly from here on out."
3 Studies Involved
The agreement on the 54,000-square-foot property, on Arroyo Boulevard just north of the Foothill Freeway, ends a search that involved three studies on several locations in the area served by the Glendale office.
The Glendale CHP, which patrols parts of four freeways stretching from Sun Valley to Pasadena, has been leasing space at its present location at 6801 San Fernando Road in Glendale since 1968. Since then, however, the contingent of officers has swelled by about one-third, to 58.
"We've really outgrown this office, and it would cost too much to make modifications," said Capt. Truman Dennis.
The men's locker room is too small, the women's locker room has no shower, the building is not accessible to the handicapped and there is a severe shortage of parking spaces, Dennis said.
Dennis called the new Altadena location ideal, noting that it is situated so officers will be able to effectively patrol the increased traffic flow that could result from the planned extention of the Long Beach Freeway to the Foothill Freeway in the Pasadena area.
Under terms of the agreement, once a developer has been selected to build a new station house, the developer will then pay the property owner, James Kirst of La Canada Flintridge, and lease the land to the CHP, Johnstone said.
A representative for Kirst said the selling price for the land was set at $648,000. CHP officials have been interested in the Altadena site since last year, but negotiations broke down in November when officials and the owner could not agree on a price. CHP spokesman Mark Lunn said the owner was asking $17 per square foot, while the Highway Patrol was offering $6.
Looked for Other Site
The CHP then conducted another site search while maintaining contact with the owner of the Altadena property. About three months ago, the two parties agreed on a selling price of $12 a square foot, said the owner's representative, who asked not to be identified.
Dennis said that, once the plan receives county approval, which is expected in the next few months, the CHP would begin soliciting bids for construction of a $1.5-million station.
Glendale city officials had encouraged the CHP to try to find a suitable site there, noting that the city benefits from the presence of patrol cars on freeways in and near it and because of the name association with the Highway Patrol.