After years of starts and stops a new firehouse for the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department looks finally to be on the fast track.
On Tuesday, the borough president’s office announced it was approving the application for a new facility. In an e-mail, Borough President Helen Marshall’s office released its “recommendation for approval of the application” for the new firehouse to be located at 305 Cross Bay Boulevard, next door to the American Legion Hall.
The positive recommendation compares the size of the current two-story building located on a 2,500 square foot lot on Noel Road, which, the borough president says, barely has room for the emergency vehicles much less responders own cars, with the proposed 24,000 square foot vacant lot which would house a two-story, 10,000 square foot building. The new space, according to the document released by Marshall’s office, would house the volunteer corps emergency vehicles and dispatch room on the first floor. The second floor would be used for sleeping quarters, bathroom and an open meeting area. There would also be 20 “accessory” parking spaces.
At last month’s Community Board 14 meeting, a representative for the Department of City Planning announc- ed that the application for the firehouse had been certified. This started the official Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for approval of the project. Also necessary is obtaining a variance for the new facility to be built in, what is considered, a residential R3- 2 zone. CB 14 approved the project at the same meeting. The project went through the ULURP process in 2004, but the required permit expired before building began. By the community board reaffirming its support of the project from the last ULURP process, 60 days was cut off from the application process, which could take up to 150 days. It then went to Marshall’s office, where her quick approval takes at least two weeks off the approval timetable. It next goes to the City Planning Commission for 60 days of review and hearings. The City Council, if it sees fit, may elect to review and hold hearings after City Planning makes their decision. If the application passes through all the steps without any problems, it is then sent on to the mayor for his signature.