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BUSD approves fire station property transfer

The Bonsall Unified School District has approved the agreement which would sell the property containing the North County Fire Protection District's former Station 5 back to the school district.

The agreement was approved on a 4-0 vote March 9 with Erin English absent.

"We sent that back to the fire district," said BUSD superintendent Justin Cunningham.

The 0.64-acre parcel of land is on Old River Road adjacent to Bonsall Elementary School. In 1981, the Bonsall Union School District sold the property to the Fallbrook Fire Protection District for $35,000. The grant deed, which applied to successor agencies, included a stipulation that if the land was to be used for anything other than a fire station it was to be sold back to the school district for the purchase price of $35,000.

A fire station and a parking area were constructed on the property. In 1986, the Fallbrook Fire Protection District became the North County Fire Protection District after merging with the county service area which provided fire protection services for Rainbow and annexing the Gavilan Mountain area. The Bonsall Union School District transitioned from a K-8 elementary school district to a K-12 district in 2014 and became the Bonsall Unified School District.

NCFPD replaced the old Station 5 with a newer and larger station on Olive Hill Road, and the fire district moved its personnel and apparatus into the new station last year. NCFPD and BUSD staff had different interpretations whether the repurchase price should consider the improvements made to the property.

In January 2015, the BUSD board voted to support a purchase price of $35,000. Although fire board members threatened to continue to use the old fire station rather than sell it for $35,000, the fire board never took an official position in favor of factoring the improvements into the repurchase price. Public agency boards usually discuss real property negotiations in closed session, although any votes may be reported out of closed session, and in the NCFPD board's July closed session the board accepted the sale of the property for $35,000.

On Dec. 8, the BUSD board voted 4-0, with Sylvia Tucker absent, to authorize BUSD staff to enter into a purchase and sale agreement with the fire district, and the March action approves the specific agreement.

The school district has not made a definite decision on the use of the land, although it has been discussed as the location for a continuation high school. An addition to an existing school which does not increase student capacity by more than 25 percent or 10 classrooms, whichever is less, is eligible for a categorical exemption from California Environmental Quality Act review.


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