FDNY to fix leaky Totten roofs

The FDNY’s Building #323 at Fort Totten is currently not in use because it has fallen into such severe disrepair.
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The FDNY has plans for fixing the holes where the rain gets in.

The slate roofs of 12 of the department’s more than two dozen buildings within the landmark district at Fort Totten are leaking severely and need emergency repairs before winter arrives in full force in order to prevent further damage to their interiors.

But because its budget has been slashed significantly and the buildings are landmarked, Fire Department representatives had to first attain approval from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to allow them to move forward with less-expensive, temporary roof patches that do not conform to city landmarking requirements.

Instead of replacing the slate roofing with new slate, the department wants permission to take the stop-gap measure of replacing it with asphalt or faux slate roofing until it has the funds to replace the temporary materials with authentic slate, in accordance with the landmarking rules.

Slate can cost more than 10 times the $5,500 per-roof asphalt prices before labor costs are added in, according to Paul Soehren, director of the construction unit at the department’s Bureau of Facilities Management.

The commission granted approval for the work at a meeting Tuesday morning, after receiving a letter from Community Board 7 stating that it did not oppose the work, which CB 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty drafted and sent to the LPC last week.

“The majority of these buildings are uninhabited because they have leaks and other damage. So we’d like to do this short-term work to maintain them until we can do full renovations,” Soehren said at a CB 7 committee meeting last week asking CB 7 to back the FDNY’s proposal. “The amount of damage is extreme. The roof deck is rotting, everything is gone. We have done some repairs, but it’s not enough .... We’re really looking to do this in an appropriate and fiscally conservative manner.”

The seven present CB 7 members at the Sept. 15 meeting of the CB 7 — called the College Point Corporate Park Task Force — voted unanimously that Kelty should draft a letter saying the board offers “no contest” to the proposal, as due to the time constraints the full board did not have the chance to look into the proposal in detail.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 12:57 pm, September 22, 2011
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