FDNY Drops Plan to Store Spare Fire Engines at Sunnyside Site

By Jeanmarie Evelly on August 11, 2014 6:02pm 

 The FDNY has dropped a plan to relocate its spare and reserve fire engine fleet to a building on 43rd St. in Sunnyside.
The FDNY has dropped a plan to relocate its spare and reserve fire engine fleet to a building on 43rd St. in Sunnyside.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

SUNNYSIDE — The FDNY has dropped a plan to relocate its spare and reserve fire engine fleet to a building on 43rd Street and is looking instead for another location, according to officials.

The department had been vying to use the site at 39-34 43rd St. in Sunnyside as a warehouse and administrative facility for its Bureaus of Fleet Services, where it would host its spare fire apparatus fleet — about 100 fire engines, tower ladder trucks and other vehicles that are used to replace the department's regular rigs if they break down or get in an accident. 

The proposal was approved by Community Board 2 with several stipulations back in June, when it was met with criticism from residents who were worried about potential traffic and noise at the site, which is near the Torsney and Lou Lodati playgrounds.

The FDNY has since withdrawn its land use application for the proposal, as the Sunnyside Post first reported and an Fire Department spokesman confirmed. The FDNY is currently looking for an alternative location, according to the spokesman.

Under the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, the plan would have next gone to the Borough President's office for review, then to the City Planning Commission before going before the City Council.

In a statement, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said he was "pleased" that the application was withdrawn.

"While I support the FDNY and the brave men and women who serve it, this site is not appropriate for this use," he said.

"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."

The department had been looking to use the Sunnyside site to replace its current reserve vehicles facility in Greenpoint, which is near Newtown Creek and flooded during Hurricane Sandy.

The 43rd Street building would have also been used to store fire vehicles that are being decommissioned or were involved in accidents and need to be retained in the case of a lawsuit, according to the FDNY's land use application.

At a CB2 meeting in June, a fire official assured residents that the facility would be "unobtrusive" and that vehicles coming in or out would not operate their lights or sirens. But residents who lived nearby were still concerned about the impact the project would have.

"The Fire Department just needs to work a little harder to find a suitable facility in a non-residential area," one resident said at the time.

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