Council member Melinda Katz, the head of the powerful City Council Land Use Committee, discusses the fate of the Beach 59 Street firehouse with Councilman Joe Addabbo.
The controversial plan to move the Beach 59 Street firehouse to a new site on Beach 48 Street might be decided on May 14 when a subcommittee of the City Council's Land Use Committee will meet at city hall to hear testimony and to make a recommendation to the full committee.
"We have a really small window of opportunity to turn the plan around," Councilman Joe Addabbo told The Wave. "The community board approved the move, the borough board approved the move and the Borough President approved the move. This is the last step, and if we want to stop it, we have to stop it here."
City Councilperson Melinda Katz, the chair of the powerful Land Use Committee, was in Rockaway on Tuesday to discuss the plan with Addabbo and with the firefighters themselves, the majority of who are opposed to the move on safety and response time grounds.
Katz, a long-time Democratic stalwart who was just elected to the council, says that she has not yet made up her mind.
Members of the city council and their staff members convened at the Beach 59 Street firehouse last Monday. The council's subcommittee will meet May 14.
"The visit to the site was just a fact-finding mission," she told The Wave. "I really have no opinion on whether it should be moved or not."
She told The Wave that she was setting up a visit to Rockaway for Fincha Felder, the Brooklyn councilman who heads the subcommittee. No date has yet been set for that visit, however.
Although Katz is not sure, the proposed site, on Beach 48 Street, is considered by many, including Addabbo, to be unsuitable for a the new facility.
"The new Beach 48 Street site does not make any sense at all," Addabbo says. "The firehouse is being moved further away from where it is needed, from Ocean Village and the new homes in Arverne By The Sea. It is nearby three nursing homes, a hospital and across the street from a Green Bus depot. East-West access on Rockaway Beach Boulevard is much easier than on Beach Channel Drive. All of those things add up. It just doesn't make any sense."
"There is so much city land around the Beach 59 Street site," Addabbo adds. "If the city really needs a new facility, they should put it there."
The council hearing, which is open to the public, will be held at City Hall on May 14 at 11 a.m.