Planning Commission to hear $8.3 million Fire Station 71 overhaul

Rendering of proposed new Fire Station 71

The Malibu Planning Commission will hear an application from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works for permits to tear down Fire Station 71 in Malibu and build a new facility in its place. The $8.3 million project is projected to start in July and take one year to complete, with the fire station relocating to the Zuma Beach parking lot in the interim period. 

The current station, which was built in 1939 on a half-acre parcel in the Point Dume area just north of the Pacific Coast Highway-Zumirez Drive intersection, is in disrepair and too small to meet current firefighting needs, according to the department. The county seeks to more than double the size of the facility, from 2,260 to 5,800 square feet. 

The proposed project would not increase staff size but would include six individual dorms and separate male and female showers, expanding living quarters from 1,700 square feet to 3,500 square feet. Private dormitories and showers are required to employ male and female firefighters, according to the county’s application. 

The proposed project would also expand an apparatus bay to house an extra fire engine, which is currently parked outside, as well as build an ADA-compatible access ramp and a storage shed, among other features. 

If approved, county officials hope to begin demolition in July, a process which is expected to take one month. The overall building process has been estimated to take one year. 

During that time, county officials will petition the Planning Commission for permission to move the station’s facilities and a five-person crew to a temporary site at the Zuma Beach helipad. The helipad would be re-striped, and “minor site and street access improvements” will be made to PCH to allow a fire engine and other emergency vehicles to enter and leave the parking lot (see attached photos). 

No permanent facilities would be installed at the temporary site, according to the staff report. The county Department of Public Works received a right of entry (ROE) permit to use the Zuma Beach area from the county Department of Beaches and Harbors.

The ROE allows for:

1) Two temporary modular buildings for personnel (12 ft x 56 ft)

2) Seven 300-gallon above-ground, inter-connected septic tanks located under a common deck area under the two modular units. Estimated usage is 250 gallons per day, or 50 gallons per person. Tanks to be pumped every three days and holding tanks to include a high water alarm to eliminate potential for accidental overflows. 

3) One temporary tent structure for fire apparatus and paramedic squard car (30 ft x 30 ft)

4) Two temporary storage sheds (10 ft x 12 ft)

5) One temporary asphalt ramp to the Zuma Beach access road

6) Ingress/egress access through the premises during the reconstruction of Station 71. 

What do you think of the project? Think Zuma Beach is the best place for a temporary site? Let us know in the comments section or email associate editor Knowles Adkisson at