Negotiations have begun to buy land in North Bellport for a planned $13 million ambulance company headquarters, Brookhaven Town officials said.
Town officials plan to buy seven vacant lots totaling 3 acres on Station Road for the new South Country Ambulance Company facility. Appraisals show the total cost of buying the parcels would be about $200,000, officials said.
South Country officials plan to build a 26,000-square-foot headquarters with sufficient space for ambulances, training facilities and meeting spaces. Officials said at least 3 acres are needed to construct the building.
Town officials have offered $5,750 to the owner of a 0.11-acre parcel, senior assistant town attorney Marie Michel said in an interview Tuesday. Additional parcels will be purchased or acquired through eminent domain if their owners don’t agree to sell the plots, she said.
“They’re very reasonably priced,” Michel said. “They all abut each other and they will total the 3 acres that we are told are necessary for the ambulance facility.”
Officials of South Country, a nonprofit that works under contract to the town, have said a new headquarters is needed to replace the current 16,000-square-foot facility in East Patchogue. The 80-year-old building is too small and would require at least $11 million to repair a leaky roof, and remove mold and asbestos, officials said.
“It will allow us to get out of a building that is unhealthy for us right now,” South Country chief Gregory C. Miglino Jr. said in an interview Tuesday. “These problems are such that you’re going to invest more money [for repairs] than what it’s worth.”
The new building is expected to cost up to $17 million, including costs associated with borrowing to pay for construction. Property taxes for homeowners in the district would increase about $95 annually, officials have said.
The company responds to about 3,000 calls annually in Bellport Village, North Bellport, East Patchogue, Hagerman, South Yaphank and parts of Fire Island.
Opponents of the plan have said the proposed facility is too costly and would create too much traffic on Station Road.
Anne Hayes, who opposes the new headquarters, said ambulance companies may eventually become obsolete and may be replaced by other types of emergency service providers. The South Country proposal “is more of the outmoded 20th century model,” Hayes said at a town board meeting last week.
Bellport attorney Regina Seltzer questioned an environmental review of the project. “It would be thrown out by the court,” she told the town board.
Michel said a consultant hired by the town found the new facility would not cause significant additional traffic on Station Road. She said an alternative location in North Bellport would have cost about $1 million to purchase.