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Local Business to be Partially Displaced by Fire Department Emergency Operations Center

This stand of trees, including eucalyptus and an Oak, will be cut down to make way for the emergency operations center.

This stand of trees, including eucalyptus and an Oak, will be cut down to make way for the emergency operations center.

Louis Whitmore of Whitmore’s Auto Service and U-Haul says the business has been operating at the corner of Buena Vista and Grand Street since 1968, but now the City of Alameda wants him to move his U-Haul lot to a less desirable location to make way for the Alameda Fire Department’s new Emergency Operations Center. He says the City of Alameda wants him to pay the associated permit fees to boot.

The City of Alameda is planning to build a new Emergency Operations Center on an irregular shaped lot bordered by Grand Street, Buena Vista Avenue and Hibbard Street in central Alameda. A small stand of trees is set to come down on one portion of the lot, including an Oak. Whitmore told Action Alameda News that city officials got the Alameda Historical Preservation Society to sign-off on the removal of the oak tree.

Site diagram of the proposed fire station and Emergency Operations Center, showing current uses.

Site diagram of the proposed fire station and Emergency Operations Center, showing current uses.

Whitmore uses the other portion of the lot to store the rental U-Haul trucks and trailers; the rental income helps sustain the automotive service when repairs are slow. His auto shop is on the northeast corner of Buena Vista and Grand Street, and the U-Haul lot is across the street on the west side of Grand Street.

The City of Alameda wants to move the U-Haul lot one block north, to another lot owned by the city at the corner of Eagle Avenue and Grand Street, a location that is less desirable because it’s harder to see from Buena Vista Avenue.

Whitmore’s worried about losing revenue as a result. He told Action Alameda News that he pays taxes on the rentals, and that the City of Alameda wants more tax revenue, so he’s surprised at the move.

He’d prefer to see the Emergency Operations Center located at the former Carnegie Library, across from Alameda City Hall, or at Alameda Point, the site of the former Naval Air Station Alameda.

“This is just to give some information to Alameda residents about what’s going on,” he said.

Whitmore explains his concerns in more detail in the video below.

18 comments to Local Business to be Partially Displaced by Fire Department Emergency Operations Center

  • I hope the city enjoys having the Whitmores as neighbors as much as I do.

  • Andrea Noguera

    Whitmore’s Autio is great!! Have been for the past 40 plus years. Such a contribution to the city. Helps donate of trucks/trailers for parades, American Red Cross, Toys for Tots, Lincoln Middle School Band. The city would not be the city it is without small businesses, like Whitmore’s Auto & Uhaul.

  • What a phenomenal waste of our tax dollars! Fire industry standards dictate no fire house needed at Grand street whatsoever. Optimum fire service coverage standards advise closing Grand Street and utilizing and enhancing all other fire station locations, but NOT GRAND STREET. Why does our city leadership and management insist on wasting our tax dollars in this boondoggle?!

  • Craig Ogren

    Not only should the city pay for any necesary improvements, they should compensate for the loss of revenue, due to exposure of his equipment. For 45 years the place to get a U-Haul has been Buena Vista and Grand. Now it’s hidden and the City of Alameda wants this Business man to pay for improvements to the City’s land. Beauracracy at its finest

  • Joe Kasania

    My question is; who owns the property he is moving off of?

  • The City of Alameda owns the current lot that he is being asked to relinquish. That lot is where the City wants to put the AFD EOC. The property used to be owned by the Beltline Railway, until the City of Alameda bought it back.

  • Andrea Noguera

    The city of Alameda. The city took it over from the Alameda Belt Line.

  • Joe Kasania

    I dont understand the problem here. The landlord has asked him to move and are offering another place to move to. Sounds sweet to me. Maybe those Dope fiend scrap metal folks that apear to live in vans on the property will be displaced as well.
    It’s not like it is a big surprise, how many years has this been in the works?

  • I think he stated his problem pretty clearly in the video, and I think I captured it clearly in the article. His problem is:

    o His landlord (city of alameda) is asking him to move to a less desirable location, as it’s harder to see the U-Haul vans and lot from Buena Vista
    o He’s afraid this move to a less desirable location will cost him revenue/income (and cost the city tax revenue)
    o He’s going to incur costs in the move, aside from the permit fees, that he would otherwise not incur if left where he is
    o His landlord, which is also asking/forcing him to move, will not waive permit fees associated with establishing his lot at the location the City of Alameda is asking/forcing him to move to.
    o His landlord is offering a 1-year lease, when a longer-term lease may offer some more security in return for these new costs he will incur.

    Putting the AFD EOC on this site has been “in the works” for only about a year or so. He says he’s been using the lot for decades.

  • Joe Kasania

    Why shouldn’t he pay for thd tenant improvements? They gave him a lower rent acording to the video. Permit fees as well. That lot looks like a junk yard, it would be better around the corner hidden from view. People find uhaul online and in the phone book, they dont drive around looking cor a place to rent a truck. Besides that he stated this would be the best place to relocate the pacific ave. Firehouse.

  • He believes that a visible presence to Buena Vista drivers is important to his business. Certainly anyone can debate that.

    Also, the new lot is smaller, so that’s why the rent is lower. His reasoning behind having the city waive the permit fees and for the driveway is that they’re bumping him out of location, rather than him asking to move.

    The firehouse itself is set to go at the corner of Buena Vista and Hibbard, which is the lot where the trees will be removed. The EOC is set to go where his U-Haul lot is. You can see that in the diagram.

  • Joe Kasania

    I just find it hard to imagine Renting or Leasing something and feeling entitled to keep it when the owners (in this case the taxpayers) want it back to improve the community. I can see being against the city taking somebodies private property.
    Unfortunately that property is blighted anyway and needs to be cleaned up.

  • Voters rejected Measure C in 2012, which would have increased the local sales tax to fund the fire station and the EOC. It’s not clear that taxpayers are clamoring for either.

  • Joe Kasania

    This has Absolutely nothing to do with measure C. I heard referance to Don Perata being hired to collect business taxes as well which is also way out there. He is being hired to Lobby for money to build these capitol projects and repair our infrastructure but alas if you can tell a half truth a lot of folks will believe it and then repeat it as the truth.

  • Well, readers can decide if Measure C, which was billed as a public safety and 9-1-1 emergency response measure has anything to do with current plans to build a new firehouse and EOC:

    As for Perata, Mr. Whitmore may have confused his contract with that for Municipal Auditing Services, which is calling down businesses to get them to pay sales tax and other fees.

    Here are stories on Perata’s contact and Municipal Auditing Services:

  • Joe Kasania

    My point regarding fact checking your reporting has just been made clear in your last poat, thank you.

  • I don’t recall you making any point about fact checking.

    Mr. Whitmore did, in his video, reference Perata vis-a-vis the city collecting taxes. If anyone’s confused about that question, it’s Mr. Whitmore, not me.

    In any event, whether it’s Perata or Municipal Auditing Services working to collect additional tax revenue, it’s irrelevant. Whitmore’s point is that the city is bringing in outside actors to drive tax collection, which is contrary to the effort to relocate his lot, which he believes will have a detrimental impact on his revenue and city tax revenue.

    Let’s face it, you have a hate-on for Whitmore Auto Service, and/or a love-on for the fire department and the new fire house/EOC, so you’re determined to find anything to discredit the messenger or the message carrier.

  • Joe Kasania

    Well actually I think Whitmore is a Great as well as his family. My point has been that the city and taxpayers dont owe him a place to keep his trucks, however we have offered him another location close by.

    [personal insult deleted by the editor]

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