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Aug 25, 2015 12:08 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Library Officials Circulate Seven Plans For Renovation

Victor Canseco, owner of Sandpebble, leads a meeting at the Hampton Bays library about the upcoming renovations. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Aug 26, 2015 9:49 AM

The Hampton Bays Library Board of Directors last week unveiled seven different renovation scenarios, the most drastic and costly of which calls for selling the Ponquogue Avenue building and constructing a new facility elsewhere in the hamlet.

That proposal—dubbed Plan G by library officials—would cost an estimated $14.4 million to complete and requires selling the nearly 20,000-square-foot building, and the 1.3 acres it stands on, and using those proceeds to purchase land and construct a new larger library in Hampton Bays.

The most inexpensive of the proposals, labeled Plan A, would cost about $1 million and would cover basic repairs and upgrades, such as the installation of a new roof, upgrades to the facility’s heating and cooling systems, and renovating a children’s bathroom. Library officials previously stated that those upgrades must be completed as soon as possible.

The second-most expensive plan, dubbed Plan F, would cost $13.3 million and requires the demolition of the current library and constructing a larger, two-story facility in its place, while also offering additional parking.

The other proposals range in cost from $2.5 million to $8.4 million, with the main differences being the extent of upgrades that would be completed.

Once a plan is selected—library officials are still seeking public input on which one has the best chance of securing the support of taxpayers—the work would most likely be financed via a 20-year bond, according to Hampton Bays Library Director Susan LaVista. Depending on which plan is pursued, the work could end up costing the average Hampton Bays taxpayer, whose property is assessed at $400,000, between another $8 and $115 per year for the life of the bond, according to figures shared last week by officials.

Library officials first revealed months ago that they are looking to complete renovations, hosting a pair of public hearings where they solicited feedback from patrons regarding what they would like to see improved. Last week’s hearing, the first of three informational meetings designed to gauge the opinion of taxpayers on the seven different plans, only attracted one community member who offered no input to organizers.

The second hearing was slated to be held this past Tuesday night, while the final one will be offered on Thursday, September 3, at the Ponquogue Avenue library. The session runs from 7 to 9 p.m., and all Hampton Bays taxpayers are encouraged to attend.

“We just really need input,” Ms. LaVista said at the first hearing. “We need comments from the voters to give us direction. That’s what the point of these meetings are.”

She also stressed that library board members are relying on feedback from the public before committing to one plan that will ultimately be put up for a public referendum. Ms. LaVista said a date for the vote has not yet been selected.

“My recommendation would be to get as many people as possible to weigh in,” Victor Canseco, owner of Sandpebble Builders, the Southampton-based construction company that’s handling the project, told library board members at last week’s meeting.

Ms. LaVista said members of the board will not select a plan unless they think it has the most support of taxpayers. If attendance at the informational meetings continues to be sparse, she said the board would most likely make presentations before other hamlet groups to help spread the word and solicit opinions.

At last week’s meeting, the seven plans were presented one at a time, starting with the most basic proposal, Plan A. That plan, along with versions B, C and D, include many of the same renovations, including a new roof and heating and cooling system upgrades, lowering the book drop to the ground floor, and renovating the children’s bathroom. All four plans also call for parking lot renovations to make it a safer environment: Officials want to give patrons more room to back out of parking spaces.

But Mr. Canseco noted that enlarging the parking lot is not an option under those four scenarios, explaining that the size of the property caps the amount of spaces at 67. That can be increased only if officials take down part of the building or relocate the library to a different lot. “If you leave this footprint the way it is, you can’t get more parking,” he said.

Ms. LaVista said parking is at a premium whenever staff host popular programs or when a local civic group uses the building for a meeting. “A lot of this is based on real, urgent need,” Ms. LaVista said of the proposed renovations.

Mr. Canseco explained that renovations to the children’s bathroom, as well as relocating the book drop to ground level, were included in all seven plans because those were items requested from the public during earlier meetings in April.

The three remaining proposals, Plans E, F and G, require considerably more funding and would also result in the temporary disruption of library activities.

Under Plan E, approximately 2,000 square feet of space would be added to the first floor, and about 5,900 square feet to the basement. Currently, the first floor measures 12,318 square feet, and the basement is 8,384 square feet. Additionally, that plan calls for a new entry layout, new furnishings, and the installation of interior lighting and security cameras.

This option would also force the library’s closure until the middle of 2018, according to Mr. Canseco. If they take this route, officials would rent another facility in Hampton Bays that patrons could visit during construction.

Plan F calls for demolishing the current library and building a new, two-story building in its place. The new building would also feature a basement and measure about 24,000 square feet total. If they go this route, library officials will be able to offer 34 additional parking spaces, upping the total number of available spots to 101.

As with Plan E, this proposal would also require the extended closure of the library, until the middle of 2019, according to early estimates. Again, officials would rent another building in the hamlet to house the library and its programming.

The last plan, labeled Plan G, calls for selling the library property and using the proceeds to buy another lot elsewhere in Hampton Bays, and building a new library on it. Under this plan, work could not begin on the new building until officials find a buyer for the current library. The estimated completion date for that option is the fall of 2019.

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I am definitely In favor of LIBRARIES! Hampton Bays does need more space and the upgrades. Plan F seems sensible.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Aug 25, 15 12:33 PM
I've always dreamed of having a library located right on Main Street. Clearly, finding the space for it could be a problem and also taxpayers will not want to foot that bill. However, it seems like no one is voicing their opinions on the matter. I guess we will have to see how this plays out.
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Aug 26, 15 12:34 AM
Another dream of building something we don't need, and more importantly cant afford. Where does the 14 million come from? We must really hate our kids when we saddle their generation with debt that will break them.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 26, 15 8:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
"We must really hate our kids..." To me this would only be beneficial for our kids...I for one would much rather have my children hanging out at the Library than on the streets!!! $9.58 a month ($.31 a day) is going to break them??? If that's the case than we have a bigger problem on our hands!!!! Come one people lets be real.
By bonac79 (18), East Hampton on Aug 28, 15 4:33 PM
Are you saying that library staff should be used as free babysitting service for some residents? No wonder the staff felt the need to hire a security guard. See my comment below - I am not sure on what authority you get to judge each taxpayer's financial position in Hampton Bays. I love Hampton Bays and the Library, but our resources should not be abused.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 15 7:41 AM
The 14 mil comes from a 20 year bond which will cost each homeowner $115 year on $400,000 assessed value-$2,300 minimum per taxpayer. I'd say No thanks if I was a H Bays resident
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Aug 26, 15 8:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
Really? Where are all the residents, especially senior residents, supposed to get all this extra tax dollars from. Let's get real people, I love libraries myself but this is Hampton Bays, working class people. I wonder how many people that use this library pay property taxes? Fix the roof etc. and stop spending what people don't have.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Aug 26, 15 5:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is Hampton Bays! A town that loves and adores their library. This is the most used institution in Hampton Bays. To suggest any less is an insult to the population that uses this facility regularly. I think coughing up a few extra bucks is not something that can't be managed if it will enhance services for this great community.
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 15 8:52 AM
I love Hampton Bays and think that the Library is great, but with all due respect I am no sure on what authority you can speak about every taxpayer's financial position. For those home owners in Hampton Bays that are living on pensions from decades ago, $100 can mean a few meals - same goes for other homeowners that may have purchased their home at the peak of the market and are trying to stay in their homes. The Trustees should work to find a wealthy donor to put his or her name on an expansion ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 15 9:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Most communities have seniors who if lucky enough have pensions. These are the people who mostly use the services the library provides. Of course their is fundraising to help fund many aspects of the library. To wait for a big wig donor unfortunately is one piece of the puzzle but not the only solution. Our library besides the schools is the only cultural and educational facility for all its residents. To enhance it would only bring more value to our community. There is no youth center in town. ...more
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 15 8:18 AM
"People open your minds and see the big picture"? I don't understand why people need to insult others when they are trying to make a point. I really hope this is not what we are teaching our children these days. The "big picture", for me, is that the taxpayers are not necessarily using the schools or the library - just paying for it. There needs to be balance. I would expect our Trustee to understand that.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 15 10:39 AM
As our children - and seniors - mostly use the internet for their research, and Kindle (or some such) to read books, I'm not understanding why a larger library is needed as much in this 21st century!

The internet, with a computer, does not require bricks & mortar. And the internet is totally UNlimited in the amount of information, research material and literature - all of which cost little or nothing. Whereas a library holding bound paper (which cost increasing more in time) would ...more
By greycat (2), Southampton on Sep 2, 15 11:04 AM
1 member liked this comment