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May 3, 2019 2:31 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

PSEG Says Flamingo Road Is No Longer An Option For Montauk Substation

A parcel of land off Flamingo Road, to the left of the water tower, is off the table for consideration as the site of the new PSEG substation, the utility company says.
May 7, 2019 1:09 PM

PSEG-Long Island is no longer considering a hillside parcel of land off Flamingo Road in Montauk as a possible location for a new substation it plans to build in the hamlet, according to a company spokesman.

The electricity provider said that Edward Vincent Ecker Sr. County Park also is no longer on its list of possible sites. That leaves just three remaining options from the five it originally said it had been considering.

The Flamingo Road property, which comprises four residential lots to the north of the Montauk Playhouse, had been the focus of a deluge of community outrage when the company confirmed over the winter that it was considering purchasing the land and constructing the new substation there. At a public workshop last month on the various properties PSEG was considering, more than 100 Montauk residents flooded in, wearing buttons adorned with pink flamingos with a slash through them.

“We’ve had a lot of feedback from the Montauk and South Fork community over the last month, and we heard them loud and clear,” PSEG’s director of communications, David Gaier, said in a statement on Friday. “As a result, I can tell you today that we’ve taken Flamingo Avenue and [Edward Vincent Ecker Sr. County Park] off the table as potential locations for the Montauk substation. Obviously, we’re continuing to look at other options, and we’ll keep the community informed as we move forward.”

Neighbors bombarded PSEG and town officials with objections to the Flamingo property and mounted a well-organized campaign to steer consideration to other sites. They circulated petitions and compiled their own list of alternatives and presented them to PSEG officials.

They also proposed a land swap involving East Hampton Town and Suffolk County that would allow the utility to build the substation near the former landfill, on what is now Suffolk County parkland, which has long been the preferred location for the substation of town residents and planning staff.

“On behalf of the 2,500 people who signed our petition, we could not be more pleased with today’s developments,” said Sean de Jesus, a neighbor of the Flamingo Road property who had led the campaign against its consideration. “The utility has been a great partner these past few months, working hard to engage with the community in a constructive manner and find a positive solution for all. We’d also like to thank the Town of East Hampton for their support. We look forward to helping get this critical infrastructure to the right place.”

With the Flamingo Road property and Ecker County Park, on Navy Road, dropped from the equation, the company’s options have been whittled down to sites on Industrial Road, Shore Road and a property adjacent to the former landfill.

The utility had been planning for years to construct its next substation at the Shore Road property, which the Long Island Power Authority has owned for decades. The substation was supposed to have been constructed there and activated in 2018.

But those plans were shelved because of opposition to constructing the substation in the low-lying area between two water bodies, which town planners have said does not comply with the statutes in the town’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan and is a generally unwise location to put critical infrastructure.

At last month’s forum on PSEG’s decision process, its staff made clear that Shore Road, or the location of the existing substation—which sits even closer to sea level and would require the new equipment to be mounted on a 12-foot-high steel foundation—are their preferences.

The Shore Road property sits immediately adjacent to a 4-megawatt battery storage facility constructed by a private company last year, specifically because it neighbored the LIPA-PSEG property. Engineers said they are confident they could harden the site against any anticipated flooding in severe storm-like hurricanes, which have washed over the Shore Road and Industrial Road areas in the past. They likewise said they think the new equipment could be installed at the existing site without concern about damage in storms.

But Mr. Gaier said that the company is still considering “all our other options” and hopes to make a decision by mid-summer.

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When PSEG understands the musts and wants of the Montauk residents better than its own elected representatives on the Town Board, there is a problem. Montauk must understand that they need to elect board members that understand Montauk and appreciate their values.
By pluff (60), East Hampton on May 3, 19 4:43 PM
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