SUNNYSIDE — The FDNY is looking to house its reserve fleet of fire engines in a Sunnyside warehouse as a replacement for its Greenpoint facility, which flooded in Hurricane Sandy.
At its monthly meeting last Thursday, Queens Community Board 2 approved the FDNY's plan to use the building at 39-34 43rd St., but attached several conditions based on concerns from residents about potential noise and traffic at the site, which is near the Lou Lodati playground.
According to its proposal, the FDNY would use the 53,000 square-foot lower level of the two-story building and an adjacent 30,000 square-foot parking lot to house about 100 of its spare fire vehicles, which are used to replace the department's regular rigs if they get damaged or break down.
These are currently kept at a facility at 59 Paidge Ave., near Provost Street, in Brooklyn. That site, however, is near Newtown Creek and experienced flooding during Hurricane Sandy, prompting the city to start looking for a new location outside of the revised FEMA Level A flood zone.
The FDNY also wants to use the Sunnyside site to house vehicles that have been involved in accidents or are awaiting decommission, which are currently being housed in Long Island City.
At the CB2 meeting, residents who live nearby expressed concerns over what impact the relocation would have on the nearby residential neighborhood, particularly how much traffic would be coming in and out of the site.
"New York City is a huge city. The Fire Department just needs to work a little harder to find a suitable facility in a non-residential area," said Mike Kenny, who lives nearby.
FDNY officials, however, assured residents that no street parking in the neighborhood would be affected, that the department would use the truck route on Northern Boulevard — instead of nearby residential streets — when sending vehicles out to its repair shop, and that trucks coming in or out would not operate their lights or sirens.
"We will be as unobtrusive as you can believe," said fire official David Harney, who added that the spare vehicles "will only go out on an as-needed basis."
"It is not a firehouse," he said. "Units will not be going out of this facility with lights and sirens."
As part of its recommendation in favor of the application, CB2 has also requested that the FDNY do greening around the building, meet with the board and community members on a regular basis and provide specific numbers on how many trips vehicles would be making each day in and out of the site, according to chairman Joe Conley.The proposal still needs to go through the rest of the city's land use process for approval.
"The Department will continue to work through the land use process and looks forward to working with the community every step of the way," the FDNY said in a statement.