Scraps Sunnyside Plan Amid Opposition
The Fire Department proposal to house the Spare and Service fleet in Sunnyside was dropped in the face of community opposition and the objections of the City Council Majority Leader last week, it was learned.
The proposal was recommended by Community Board 2 in June under the stipulation that members wanted to know how many vehicles would be traversing the neighborhood and entering the facility at 39-34 43rd St. within a 24-hour period. For the proposal to go into effect, it would have to pass a full vote in the City Council, but on the heels of the recommendation, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer vowed to fight its inclusion in the district.
Before the Council could vote on the proposal, it would have gone to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, then to the City Planning Commission.
The proposal would have combined two facilities into one at the new site.
“I am pleased that the FDNY has decided to withdraw its application for the proposed 43rd Street facility,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “While I support the FDNY and the brave men and women who serve it, this site is not appropriate for this use.”
As previously reported in the Times Newsweekly, the department planned to consolidate the Accident and Decommissioned Apparatus, Emergency Crew and Motor Transport Units to the site, department officials said. The site was also slated to be used for Fleet Services and Facilities Management, a spokesperson said in June.
According to Van Bramer’s office, many in the community contacted him with concerns over increased traffic, the proximity to schools and parks and the site’s location in a non-industrial area.
The Council Majority Leader expressed these concerns at a meeting with Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro in July, an aide noted.
“I want to thank FDNY Commissioner Nigro for meeting with me and listening to the community’s concerns. And I pledge to work with the Commissioner to find a more appropriate site in the future,” Van Bramer said.
Fire Department officials said in June that for the last 20 years the Spare and Reserve Fleets have been stored at a facility on Paidge Avenue in Greenpoint. Relocation of this facility is imperative because of its current location in a Level A flood zone, an official told Board 2.
The Paidge Avenue facility was damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy, as were vehicles and department equipment the official said.
The department is reportedly looking for another facility, possibly also in Queens.