Sixty new fire stations would be paid for by a fee imposed on developers during the next 18 years under a proposed program that would affect the Santa Clarita Valley, the Antelope Valley and Malibu.
The Santa Clarita City Council late Tuesday approved the program, under which developers will pay more than 18 cents per square foot for new construction, beginning Aug. 1. The fee, negotiated between the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Building Industry Assn., will be raised annually, said John Y. Gee, chief of planning for the Fire Department.
The city of Palmdale approved the program earlier this summer, and Lancaster and Los Angeles County are expected to follow suit this month, Gee said.
"Because of Prop. 13 limitations, this is the only way we can build new stations," Gee said. "Otherwise, we would have to take away from services to pay for them."
No developers testified against the fee at Tuesday's public hearing before the Santa Clarita City Council.
In the Santa Clarita Valley, 10 stations will be built, including four within Santa Clarita's city limits, Gee said. Each station costs about $1.5 million, he said.
One of the first stations to be built would replace two mobile homes that now house Station 124, which is located just west of Santa Clarita on Pico Canyon Road, Assistant Chief Gary Nelson said. Construction could begin by the end of the fiscal year if the county adopts the fee as expected, Gee said.
"It's just terrible over there now," said Battalion Chief Larry Rohrer, referring to Station 124. "You ought to see the place. It's just falling apart and we've had to rope off areas because the foundation has collapsed."
Station 124 also is infested with spiders, he said. It was being fumigated Wednesday.