Westhampton Beach Fire Department officials plan to relocate their headquarters to their storage house on Sea Breeze Avenue, and also install a temporary structure on the Westhampton property, once construction begins next spring on a $15.7 million firehouse in the village.
Fire district officials submitted their plans for the new 30,000-square-foot firehouse, which will replace the current firehouse off Sunset Avenue that is scheduled for demolition, to the Westhampton Beach Planning Board last month, and the board is scheduled to consider the document during its meeting on Thursday, October 10, at 7 p.m.
Fire Commissioner Victor Levy, who also serves as chairman of the village’s Planning Board, said he expects the plans to be approved early next year, allowing the construction to get under way in the spring. Mr. Levy, who said he will recuse himself from voting on the application, said it should take about 14 months to complete the new firehouse once construction begins.
The plans call for the current firehouse to be demolished and replaced with the new two-story structure, which will allow the department ample space to store its firetrucks safely, as well as plenty of training and meeting space, Mr. Levy said. The new building will feature 11 bays with a clearance height of 14 feet, according to the commissioners.
Voters approved the plans by a two-to-one margin in June. Sandpebble Builders, based in Southampton, will do the actual work, the cost of which will be paid for with a 20-year bond.
Mr. Levy explained that the department had originally planned to also demolish the office building adjacent to the current firehouse, which formerly served as the headquarters for Westhampton Beach Village Police, though the commissioners have decided to let it stand for now so they can us it as a district office during construction. The building, which currently serves as the chiefs’ offices, will be razed once the new firehouse is finished in order to make room for more parking on the roughly 1.5-acre property. The revised plan, he added, will save the district the costs of renting office space.
Fire District Commissioner Fred Overton said four of the department’s trucks will fit in the Sea Breeze Avenue building, and an additional three would be housed in the temporary structure that still requires approval from the Southampton Town Planning Board. The district has yet to submit those plans to the board.
Mr. Overton said he did not know the estimated cost of installing the temporary building, which would have to be put out to bid.
The commissioners are also exploring the possibility of storing the department’s antique trucks at neighboring firehouses in order to save additional costs, according to Mr. Levy.
Though fire district officials had considered other possible sites for their temporary headquarters, Mr. Levy explained that this plan is the most cost efficient, and keeps all the department’s equipment in one location. He noted that there is enough electric being supplied to the Sea Breeze Avenue building so that also heating the temporary structure will not be an issue.
In the meantime, the commissioners are busy working on the details of the interior of the new firehouse, down to the type of doorknobs they will purchase, Mr. Levy explained.
“We’re trying to put the most durable finishes in, rather than the fanciest stuff,” he said.