Published November 30th, 2016
Lafayette Identifies New Home for Police
By Pippa Fisher
The police department will move to this vacant building at 3471 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Photo Pippa Fisher
City officials have solved the problem of finding a new home for the Lafayette Police Department.
The Lafayette City Council, with all four current members present, unanimously agreed recently to authorize City Manager Steve Falk to lease property and a building located to the east of Boswells at 3471, Mount Diablo Blvd.
With the lease agreement, the council also approved the allocation of $1.4 million for rent and improvements to the property.
The master lease will include an option to buy in the future, solving not only the short-term problem but also that of the long term.
In a departure from its previous game plan, which was to find a new location for the police department and the city offices together in one location, this property would house the police only, with the administrative offices remaining in their current location at Desco Plaza. The landlord of the current police department building has given the city until June 30, when their current lease expires, to find somewhere else.
Falk explained to the council that they had been looking at four semi-viable options but that this was by far the best of the choices.
"Chief (Eric) Christensen and I are both very excited about this new location for the police station," Falk said. "Its location in the center of town is perfect for public access, and ideal for response times."
The building was most recently used as a workout studio and before that, by Feathered Follies. It was built originally for the Pool Tech Company and has 20 parking spaces in a secure, fenced, onsite parking lot. Since the parking lot would not be shared, cars could be double-parked, further increasing capacity.
The building itself is 3,200 square feet, an increase of 500 square feet over their current location, which, Falk pointed out, would accommodate a women's locker room - something previously identified as a need. The cost of the lease is $9,800 per month, slightly under the going rate for retail space in Lafayette but slightly more than the city is currently paying.
Christensen said that this is the "perfect place." He particularly liked how readily visible it is to the community and pointed out that it provides easy and fast access to the freeway and all downtown locations.
Council member Traci Reilly brought up the point of defensibility. Christensen said that requirements and guidelines for building police stations will be followed, and listed ways of making the front of the building secure, such as using concrete bollards or even decorative rocks, which can provide a safe yet attractive barrier against the possibility of vehicles crashing into the building.
To some of those who remembered the last city council meeting, when Falk stressed the importance of keeping the location of both the police and the city offices together, this move for the police only was confusing. Lafayette resident Jim Burns said he didn't want the city to be "rushed into it." He said that while he understood how this solves the short-term problem, he couldn't see where it fits in with the long-term plan.
Falk said, "Co-locating the city's administrative offices with the police would have been preferable, but this building and its location are too good to pass up. ... It should serve Lafayette and its citizens well for decades to come. With that matter behind us, we will now concentrate on a solution for (finding a location for) the city's administrative functions."

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