Shoreline Fire Department buys Richmond Beach property next to Station 62

Saturday, June 8, 2024

The vintage fire truck backs into Station 62 after an open house on Wednesday - photo by Oliver Moffat

By Oliver Moffat

Wednesday is date night at Le Petit Paquet in Richmond Beach and customers can get a deal on a bottle of wine, salad and a pizza.

The place was packed and Zephyr, who opened Le Petit Paquet in 2022, was busy in the kitchen, supervising staff and greeting customers as they walked in.

“If I don’t know them when they walk in, then I know them by the time they walk out…. You can’t come in here and not talk to someone else,“ said Zephyr.

Although business is booming the future of this hidden Shoreline gem near the entrance to Richmond Beach Saltwater Park is unclear.

The Shoreline Fire Department purchased the building where Le Petit Paquet and Beast & Brush are located next door to Station 62 - photo by Oliver Moffat

When the property next door to Station 62 recently came up for sale, the fire department moved quickly to use $1.85 million of Fire Impact Fees to buy the site.

The old Station 62 building is too small for a modern fire station and it currently houses some smaller rescue equipment, an antique fire truck and educational programs for young kids.

According to Fire Chief Matt Cowan, response times are acceptable now, but with the region growing, adding a new station in Richmond Beach could improve response times in the 90th percentile by more than two minutes.

Chief Cowan said the location on an arterial isn’t ideal for a station, but with climbing real estate prices, expanding Station 62 makes sense financially compared to purchasing property elsewhere.

Also, buying from willing sellers is better than the alternative. “I don’t like forcing people to sell or forcing people out of their homes,“ said Chief Cowan about the prospect of having to use eminent domain to acquire property elsewhere.

Fire Chiefs in the region have a saying, said Cowan, “you can’t close a fire station and you can’t open a station.”

A map from the Shoreline Fire Department website shows its service area and the current station locations including Station 62

The fire department has not made a decision yet about whether to build a new station and if so where. That decision would need to be approved by the fire commissioners and (depending on how the new station is funded) could require going to voters as a bond measure.

Chief Cowan said the Fire Department doesn’t have final plans right now for the property and said the earliest an expansion could happen would be 2027.

“I can guarantee at least two years notice if something would happen,” said Chief Cowan about the fate of the businesses next door.

Shoreline’s Board of Commissioner meetings are held at 5pm on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at Station 61 Headquarters. The public is invited and public comments are allowed.


Anonymous,  June 8, 2024 at 9:31 AM  

So much unrealized potential at this corner. The wild horse across the street should be condemned and replaced. Can’t figure out why it is taking soooo long to improve this area.

Anonymous,  June 9, 2024 at 8:59 AM  

The reason is that real estate prices are so high that rents become uneconomical. I love this neighborhood but part of the charm is its lack of bustle. Bustle is exactly what restaurants need to succeed. I have marveled that the Little Store has managed to stay in business.

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