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CB 7 tables vote on Totten wind turbine; Fire Department plans to build it in park near police K-9 unit building  

Credit:  By Ryan Brady, Associate Editor | Queens Chronicle | October 26, 2017 | www.qchron.com ~~

Community Board 7 tabled a vote in support of a Fort Totten wind turbine planned by the FDNY at its Monday meeting.

“The Fire Department is looking to use a lot more green technologies,” Paul Soehren, senior director of the FDNY’s facilities maintenance division, explained to members of CB 7.

The turbine would be 160 feet tall and the first to be built on city property, he explained. It would be constructed near the NYPD K-9 training building and would not be within the Fort Totten Historic District.

Because the proposed site is inside of a Special Natural Area District, however, the turbine cannot exceed 40 feet in height and requires a special permit to go up.

Northern Power Systems, the company tasked with designing and building the 100-kilowatt turbine, estimates that the total cost of the project – including its management – would cost the city $481,000.

Many of the agency’s buildings, he added, are old and require a lot of work to bring them up to the energy code. The power that the turbine would produce would reduce the need to modernize them. According to the FDNY official, the turbine would provide 5 to 6 percent of the agency’s power at its Fort Totten facilities.

“We’ve reached out with our engineers and we’re working with a firm with a lot of experience,” Soehren said.

He added that while the Fire Department does need a special permit because of the planned turbine’s height – which the board would vote on – the agency was requesting CB 7’s approval of the project before it proceeds further with and spends more money on it.

While the board seemed supportive of the project, some had different concerns about Fort Totten.

After CB 7 member Joe Sweeney put forth a motion in support of the turbine, board First Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian explained why tabling the vote might be a good idea.

“There has been a lot of talk over the last couple of months about the Correction Department wanting to take part of Fort Totten and coming into the Fire Department’s jurisdiction, which they’re not supposed to do,” he said. “We’ve actually got some information that we’ve been trying to clarify with [Freedom of Information Law] documents from different agencies that the Department of Correction wants to come and put a teaching facility in there. … It’s very alarming to us.”

After the meeting, Apelian told the Chronicle that he had not heard “directly” from the DOC about the plan, but was still highly concerned. “We hear rumors,” he said.

The correction agency did not immediately return a request for comment about any plans for using Fort Totten for any purpose. The agency was not present at Monday’s meeting.

Apelian put forth a motion to table the vote, which the board approved.

Board Chairman Gene Kelty explained how the city might be more open with CB 7 if it tabled the turbine vote.

“The only leverage that this board has is when somebody from the City of New York wants something from us,” he said. “So, by not giving that to them and holding off, they have to come back and talk to us.”

Kelty abstained from voting on Apelian’s motion because he works for the FDNY.

Source:  By Ryan Brady, Associate Editor | Queens Chronicle | October 26, 2017 | www.qchron.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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