Visalia approves change to zoning ordinance allowing ambulance companies to locate crew stations in light industrial areas

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By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
VISALIA – Emergency medical response times in Visalia should be quicker following a recent change allowing ambulance companies to locate stations in new areas.
At its June 18 meeting, the Visalia City Council unanimously voted to add “Ambulance Services/Medical Transport” as an allowed use in the light industrial zone citywide and to update the General Plan to reflect the change. The current ordinance did not list ambulance service as an allowed use in light industrial zones. The change should improve ambulance response times in the northwestern part of town including Goshen, the industrial park and along Highway 99.
The changes were requested by American Ambulance of Visalia in order to locate a new administrative office and crew quarters at 6743 W. Pershing Ave. Operations manager Dave Byl said the furthest western station for American Ambulance is currently at Akers Street and Tulare Avenue, which is ideal for responding to central and southwest areas of the city but not to the industrial park, Goshen and outlying areas along Highway 99. 
In order to more easily meet its response time requirements set by the County of Tulare, Byl said the ambulance would be better positioned at the proposed station at Shirk Road and Pershing Avenue. Under its contract with the County, American Ambulance of Visalia must respond to a call within 10 minutes at least 95% of the time in the city limits and up to a mile outside of the city limits.
“Due to the expansion of the city, the needs for ambulance deployment change on a regular basis,” Byl stated in his letter to the city. 
The station, consisting of a small administrative office and crew quarters, will be located in an existing 2,000-square foot building to house one ambulance and one crew. The outside of the metal building would not require any modifications while the interior would need to upgraded for sleeping quarters.