Montecito Fire Station #3 Update

Nearly three weeks after hosting a meeting to discuss the need for a third fire station in Montecito, Fire Chief Kevin Wallace tells us the community has responded. “The majority of the response has been: they don’t want it in their neighborhood,” he said. However, he added, “[The idea] has been better received than I thought it would be.”

The MFPD held a forum on March 12 to speak with the public about the need for the additional fire station on Montecito’s east side and to gain public input regarding specific properties being considered. After the meeting, the community was given a two-week timeframe in which to submit further comments.

Chief Wallace says the next step is for the independent project management and engineering firm, AMEC, to prepare a study to be presented to the MFPD Board. The preliminary list of potential fire station sites identified eighteen properties, but Wallace revealed that an additional property was added when the owner came forward with a willingness to sell. The list will be reduced to about six parcels by the time the findings are submitted to the board. Wallace said at that point AMEC can focus more time and energy taking an in-depth look at the six remaining sites.

In other MFPD news, Wallace reminded us about the upcoming April 26 evacuation drill. “We are testing the reverse 9-1-1 system,” he said. Approximately 1,100 homes will be involved in the evacuation drill to be held in the area between North Mountain Road, Coyote Road, and Hot Springs Road. Residents of the neighborhood will receive a mailer and a phone call a week prior to the drill with instructions on what to do and what to expect. In addition to the reverse 9-1-1 system, road infrastructure and traffic will be analyzed Wallace said.

In Business: Porch

“Where shelter and nature converge”: that is the idea behind, and the motto of, Porch, a new home and garden store on Carpinteria Avenue. The shop, which opened its doors March 29, carries “affordable, eclectic, and rustic contemporary” pieces for both indoors and out.

Co-owners Christie Boyd, Diana Dolan, and Don Stein have combined their retail experience and their “love of beautiful things” to bring Porch to life. The shop carries a wide range of merchandise including rustic furniture, lotions, candles, kitchen items, flowerpots, and even jams. Dolan believes the store appeals to every sense; from the music playing to the tasting of gourmet tea, to the feel of the different fabrics used in upholstered chairs and the smell of burning candles.

Boyd explained the “blended lifestyle” of California coastal living: outdoors elements are brought inside and vice versa. Porch carries items that incorporate nature but can be used indoors such as decorative birdcages, bamboo serving ware, acacia cutting boards and vine-covered topiaries. One can find modern styles mixed with rustic and vintage pieces, all with reasonable price points, Boyd said.

Porch was once a bank; the vault remains behind the cash register area. “We are turning it into an art studio,” Boyd said. Local artists have been asked to paint or sculpt their interpretation of the word Porch, which will be displayed inside the open vault for customers to view. But not to worry, Boyd laughs, the locks on the vault have been removed.

Several other new stores have opened in the area according to Boyd. “It is a Spring Bloom in Carpinteria,” she mused. Stein explained that the store will evolve constantly. New shipments of furniture and other items arrive daily, he said. Merchandise is displayed on various tables and cabinets, all of which are for sale too. He told us that the shop has been in the works for over a year.

While Porch is open now, a Grand Opening is planned for May 17. It is located at 5065 Carpinteria Avenue and is open every day except Monday. For more information call 805-684-0300 or visit