Santa Paula City Council Wednesday discussed transforming a 2-acre property off Highway 126 into a gateway to the city.

The sliver of land located east of Hallock Drive between Telegraph Road and Highway 126 that was once eyed to be developed into a fire station would serve as a commercial area on Santa Paula’s eastern front, according to meeting notes.


While the City Council did not finalize any plans and has put the item on hold for continued discussion in upcoming meetings, some of the initial ideas raised at the meeting included a drive-thru Starbucks, a Chick-Fil-A or Chipotle fast food outlet, an office building or a hotel.

 
Santa Paula City Manager Dan Singer deemed the possibilities exciting but added that it will take time to develop the idea properly. He told attendees that the project will most likely not see a ground-breaking for at least two years.


Previously, the property was supposed to be a fire station, with Limoneira Co., the Santa Paula-based agricultural and land company, to pay for it in connection with its nearby massive Harvest at Limoneira housing project. The city and Limoneira entered into an agreement regarding the parcel in 2015 as an addendum to the Harvest project.


However, plans for the fire station changed over soil contamination concerns. The concerns were later dismissed as officials assessed that the land was free of health risks.


Because Limoneira will not build a fire station on the site, the company will pay the city $4.75 million, which will be applied to improvements at Santa Paula’s two existing firehouses.