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Oct 14, 2009 1:51 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village voters approve bond issue for new firehouse

Oct 14, 2009 1:51 PM

Southampton Village voters gave a stamp of approval Friday night to a $5.9 million bond proposal to build a new firehouse on Hampton Road.

At the Levitas Center for the Arts at the Southampton Cultural Center, Village Administrator Jim Van Nostrand announced that 266 residents voted to approve the bond, and 175 voted against the borrowing. Voting took place from noon to 9 p.m. on Friday.

“The 60-40 split in the vote shows that people recognize that safety is an issue, and that emergency services are an issue,” said Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley.

The bond will be used for a 14,000-square-foot firehouse that will replace the existing 4,000-square-foot building.

With the bond approved, a village resident whose home is assessed at $1 million will see a property tax increase of $48 a year, or $4 per month, according to documents provided by Southampton Village. The life of the bond spans until 2030.

After the vote total was announced, Southampton Village Fire Chief Roy “Buddy” Wines said he was ecstatic.

“Words cannot explain how excited I am,” he said. “This is something we’ve been looking for, for a long time, and it’s well appreciated.”

Village officials have said that they would like to begin construction as early as spring 2010. Construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months, according to authorities.

Southampton Village Trustee Paul Robinson, who also serves as the fire commissioner, explained that the public’s acceptance of the project was a long time coming. “The need was identified 20 years ago,” he said.

The current Hampton Road firehouse was built in 1959, and many of the department’s trucks, which have grown larger since the 1960s, barely fit into the house. The current house also does not meet fire codes or Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

The approved design, which will have four bays, was the third option for the replacement of the Hampton Road firehouse proposed to the Village Board. The first, introduced more than a year ago, showed a $10 million firehouse that was more than 25,000 square feet. The second plans were for a building the same size as the approved house but also had expensive features such as a steel-frame roof, wood paneling, a washdown system for trucks and a full basement.

“I think this sends a message from the community as a ‘thank you’ to the volunteers,” Mr. Robinson said.

The design of the new house mimics that of the Southampton Long Island Rail Road station on Railroad Plaza, according to the architect, Dominic LaPierre of Ashley McGraw Architects in Aquebogue. The bays for the trucks open up onto Narrow Lane instead of Hampton Road, as the current house bays do.

The new firehouse also has space that could be transformed into a dedicated bunk room, should the Southampton Village Fire Department ever become a full-time paid department.

Vladimir W. Narcisse of Southampton made it to the polls at the Levitas Center on Friday night just before they closed. He said he voted in favor of the proposal because he realizes that the fire department works hard to keep the community safe. “I don’t mind taxes increasing as long as we’re safe from it, or if it pays for education,” he said.

The village is also trying to secure a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that would be used to cover at least part of the project’s cost, the 
mayor has said, possibly as much as 40 percent. But the grant is a 
competitive one, so there are no guarantees.

Now that the bond is approved, the work of making the firehouse a reality must begin. For starters, the mayor said the fire department has to work with Mr. LaPierre to formalize the project by creating working drawings.

“We have to select a construction manager and put the house before the village Planning Board and Architectural Review Board,” Mr. Epley said.

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Congratulations to the Southampton Fire Department!
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Oct 10, 09 7:12 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By pmofo (37), East Quogue on Oct 10, 09 5:46 PM
Actually, it will most likely cost the taxpayers less than stated if the grant goes through. Why is that people always have a negative view of everything. I bet you have never even seen the conditions at the Hampton Road firehouse. It is a safety HAZARD. It no longer complies with OSHA regulations and you can barely walk between two trucks. If you think this has anything to do with rewarding the "offspring of a corrupt former Mayor of Southampton" you are wildly mistaken. A new firehouse in the ...more
By local414 (10), southampton on Oct 10, 09 6:19 PM
Pmofo, I do not understand why you are so concerned about this matter. You are not even a member of this community. This new firehouse is a building for the men and women of the Southampton Fire Department. This building will create a safe envirnment for the VOLUNTEERS to respond to their calls. Furthermore, it is not something that one individual thought of and railroaded through an entire village. If you know so much about politics, you should know this. You give too much credit to one person ...more
By RKJBS (14), Southampton on Oct 11, 09 12:20 AM
2 members liked this comment
This build will not only help the fire dept. In addition will help workers to build it...The only thing I would suggest is Hire Local Builders, Painters, Electricians, Plumbers, Roofers, Masons, Landscapers & cleaning crews. and this will be a fablous addition to the town and something the ppl that live there can have some pride in.
By Just (14), Hampton Bays on Oct 11, 09 1:22 PM
they say it will look better than the new post office, but i truly believe that a steel building would house a few trucks fine, at a fraction of the price. but who cares, were already in debt up to our ears, and i dont believe that will ever change.
By ratboy (17), sousd-hampton on Oct 11, 09 6:04 PM
WOW.... It really is amazing the thought process of some people. Do any of you really think that one man made this happen or that one man passed this vote. Instead of verbally beating up on people why don't you come out and see things for yourselves or educate yourselves on the real facts and stop making up your delusional side of the stories. I mean not for nothing this bond was a public vote, yes you heard it right a public vote. This means each and every registered voter in the village of Southampton ...more
By MACK (50), Southampton on Oct 12, 09 1:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
How soon people forget the 1995 Sunrise Fire. Our local volunteers were front page news and hometown heroes. Now unless the fire department has come to your aid and you've witnessed first hand what they have to go through, people just don't get it. They have to complain about the taxes. If you're lucky enough to have a house valued at a million dollars, I have a solution on how you can afford the extra cost. Give up about 25 cups of coffee from the 7 Eleven over the next year. The money you will ...more
By HBNative (15), Hampton Bays on Oct 15, 09 9:39 AM