The Lot with an Identity Crisis

By Richard Lewin - February 3, 2021

Pantigo Place lot is the proposed location of a new Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Emergency Room for East Hampton Town

One of the side effects of the current pandemic is that hospitals, hospital staffs and patients have become stars of Breaking News. Images of heroic health care professionals dealing with the increasing onslaught of cases of COVID-19 are everywhere in our daily lives.

On the subject of local health care, attention has recently been increasingly focused on the need for an Emergency Room that is most efficient for East Hampton Town, and closer than Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Emergency Room for Fire Department ambulance calls. The recent announcement that, by 2025, the hospital will move to the 15-acre Stony Brook University Southampton College Campus, will lengthen ambulance trips by seven miles and more time.

There is nearly unanimous agreement from the Fire Departments’ First Responder front lines that, especially with the increasing year-round population in East Hampton Town, such a centralized emergency facility is an absolute necessity for saving lives.

Chief Lisa Charde, Lieutenant Olger Araya, Assistant Chief Ann Grabowski

Lisa Charde, Chief of the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association points out that, besides the long trip to Southampton, the return trip is totally dependent on prevailing traffic conditions, since regulations won’t allow priority lights and sirens to be used without a patient on board. The sooner the return to the firehouse, the sooner the ambulance is ready for the next call.

Robert Mautschke is Captain of Montauk Fire Department’s Ambulance Company No. 4. Montauk is the East Hampton village farthest away from Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. On a good day, Robert says, the ambulance trip is 45 minutes one way, and, in high season, can be an hour and 45 minutes, with sirens and emergency lights. He suggests that what is needed is more public awareness and education about the laws and common sense when sharing our roads with Emergency Service vehicles of all kinds.

East Hampton Town studies have indicated that the best location for an emergency facility would be 400 Pantigo Place, off Montauk Highway/Pantigo Road, and adjacent to the East Hampton Town Hall property. If you like to paint or to eat bagels, you know the East Hampton Goldberg’s and Aboff’s Paints building…that’s 100 Pantigo Place. 200 Pantigo Place is the East Hampton Healthcare Center building, which is affiliated with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. 300 Pantigo Place houses a variety of Town and private offices. If you are looking for the 400 Pantigo Place building, what you will find instead is a four and a half acre (196,026 square foot) lot containing two Little League baseball fields and a comfort station which were built in 1997. If all goes according to their July 2020 Application, however, the Southampton Hospital Foundation will be granted a 99-year lease on the 400 Pantigo parcel, and will be permitted to build what the Town calls “Southampton Hospital Freestanding Emergency Department”, a “Semipublic Facility” (i.e., a hospital, clinic or medical arts building). If the permit is granted, part of the agreement will be a commitment of up to $1.75 million to relocate the baseball fields, most likely to the Town-owned former C.D.C.H. property on Stephen Hands Path.

400 Pantigo Place (“Lot 3” of the Pospisil Associates Subdivision) has an interesting zoning classification history of its own. When zoning was adopted by the Town in 1957, Lot 3 was zoned CI: Commercial Industrial. In the late 1980’s, it was re-zoned A: Residence. When Pospisil (Edward A. and Edward J.) Associates proposed a CI Pantigo Place subdivision in 1988, 400 Pantigo Place was to be left vacant. Years later, “Due to the presence of the ballfield/park” there, the Town’s 2005 Comprehensive Plan recommended that the parcel be re-zoned to PC: Parks and Conservation. In 2019, NYS Assemblyman Fred Thiele and Senator Kenneth Lavalle introduced legislation “authorizing the alienation of certain parklands in the Town of East Hampton…for the purpose of establishing a hospital emergency room”. The Town Planning Board recommended re-zoning to CI, as long as there is no net loss of parkland in the Town”.

This brings us up to date. It will be interesting to witness the next stage in the life of 400 Pantigo Place, the lot with an identity crisis.

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