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Property History

The County Board approved the purchase of the property for Veterans on Monday May 21st 1923 from R. J. Wallace. Deed book 438 page 321. The original declaration states "In the matter of purchase of lands from R. J. Wallace, for purpose of building and maintaining a building or Memorial Hall for the use of patriotic, fraternal, or benevolent associations, for veterans soldiers, sailors, and marines who have served the United States honorably in any of its wars, and for all and every purpose for which same may be lawfully used." Book 438 Deeds page 321

Hall was built in 1925 and opened on September 26, 1925. (Daily Gazette-Martinez, Monday, Aug 31, 1925)

The fire department subleased the property from the American Legion and the Adjoining Veterans Memorial Mall. The county approved the construction of the Fire Station. Contra Costa Gazette, Saturday, June 12, 1937

"A new firehouse was built in 1937 on First Street, next to Veterans Memorial Hall. Replaced in 1957 by the current station on the same site, the old station’s office building remains between the hall and the new station, occupied by Operation Creekside’s military support organization."

In a letter to Supervisor Mary N. Piepho, Steven Van Horn, CCC Sr. Property Agent, derived a narrative of the history of the parcel and lot line. See our post about that letter.

"Over the years, the fire station was expanded several times to accommodate a larger fire station to house fire trucks, equipment, offices, and personnel."

"In 1955 the County established leases with the veterans service organizations for the building."

"It is interesting to note that there is a note in the margin handwritten by an

unknown individual, apparently sometime prior to 1965, that states, "Note - On

the next lease renewal - use only Lots 30, 31, 32, and NW'ly 5' of Lot29. (Drwg #

M-207-61)." It appears that someone realized that the rest of the parcel was being

used for other purposes, e.g. a fire station, and should not be a part of the

Veterans' lease."

In 1978 the County established the lot line seen here. The County had officially set a lot line, where none had been, because of disputes between the fire station and Veterans over the parking area.

In July of 2022, Deputy Fire Chief Aaron J. McAlister paid a visit to the BVMB Board with a request regarding the potential adjustment of the lot line. His purpose was to explore the veterans' willingness to accommodate the need for a larger footprint on the alley side of the property in order to accommodate the larger fire engines and provide staff parking. Although no guarantees were made, Chief McAlister indicated compensating the BVMB for the veteran's cooperation in the lot line adjustment.

The BVMB board indicated that we were open to negotiations and might entertain the idea of a lot line adjustment depending on what compensation could be worked out. However, some veterans were against any further encroachment of the fire department. We left the meeting with McAlister and agreed to continue the dialogue. The BVMB Board sent a follow-up email to Aaron and the County Veterans Service Officer on July 22nd and another on August 2, 2022. No reply from either party.

In the August 8, 2022 Fire Chief's report, Fire Chief Lewis T. Broschard III, mentioned the Fire District staff has met with the Veterans organization in the neighboring Veterans Hall. There is a possibility of a lot line adjustment, involving County property on both sides, that will help increase the success of the project."

Earlier this month, a veteran reported to the BVMB Board new property line markers near the hall. President of the BVMB Board Dan Moses contacted the county to inquire about the new property line markers. You can find the emails here:

Without notice or discussion or content of the veterans, the county has unilaterally moved the property line. The planned lot line will greatly impact the Veteran's storage containers and parking on the alley side of the property. Disabled veterans who park in the impacted area must now find parking elsewhere.

The fire department, to date, has not sat down with the veterans concerning the property line adjustment. The Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief have not acted in good faith to meet with the veterans concerning the lot line adjustment. In their staff reports to the Advisory Fire Commission, they did not report they intended to leave veterans out of the discussion. Will they be held accountable?


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