SF firehouse braces for move 

Some South of Market residents are concerned about a noisy neighbor about to move into the neighborhood: one of the nation’s busiest fire stations.

Moving Fire Station 1 — which currently sits adjacent to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art — to a new location will allow for the SFMOMA to expand. But it will also bring a 24-hour cycle of sirens and air horns to the mixed residential area that’s planned to house the new fire house. The Fire Commission will discuss the land-swap deal tonight as neighbors mount concern that the noise could lead to sleepless nights and reduced home values.

In the land swap, The City will deed to the museum an existing fire station on Howard Street. In exchange, museum officials agreed to build a new firehouse between Fifth and Sixth streets, at 935 Folsom St. The new station will be in a crucial location with a high volume of calls for service, according to Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge.

But it appears that while the project may be a win-win situation for City Hall, hundreds of homeowners and residents in the neighborhood are starting to wonder if they’ll get a decent night’s sleep.

Already, the Fire Department has heard complaints from the housing association at 249 Shipley St., a complex directly behind the proposed site.

Down the street at the 10-story, 200-unit Yerba Buena Lofts, at least one person has voiced concerns. John Paschal, 52, who owns a place on the third floor, worries that he’ll hear the fire engines as they careen down Folsom Street.
“Everyone loves the Fire Department and they want them there when there’s a problem, but nobody wants to hear the sirens all the time,” Paschal said.

Talmadge said the Fire Department is working with neighbors to ensure they are part of the process. A noise study will be conducted and will be part of an environmental review required before the transfer is official.
“Of course we have to weigh safety versus sound,” Talmadge said.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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Brent Begin

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Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014

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