PSEG’s Montauk Substation Won’t Land on Flamingo Avenue

PSEG's search for the right location for an updated Montauk substation to replace the aging one on Industrial Road continues, but the most controversial options are off the table. Doug Kuntz

PSEG Long Island announced on Friday that it would not build a new Montauk substation on Flamingo Avenue or at Eddie Ecker Park, locations that many in the community had opposed, narrowing its list of potential sites down to three.

At a public information meeting last month, PSEG representatives offered details and took comments on several sites that had been under consideration for a new Long Island Power Authority substation to replace the 101-year-old facility on Industrial Road. Options offered at the meeting included the Flamingo Avenue and Eddie Ecker Park sites, the existing location on Industrial Road, another LIPA-owned site nearby on land between Industrial Road and Navy Road, and property in parkland on the north side of the former Montauk landfill.

After reviewing comments from the April 2 meeting and an ensuing public comment period that ended last Thursday, the utility took the two most controversial locations out of the mix, according to David Gaier, PSEG Long Island’s director of communications.

The Flamingo Avenue site, in particular, spurred a groundswell of opposition. An organized group of opponents turned up en masse on April 2 to make their position clear to PSEG.

“We’ve received the feedback from the community, and we heard them loud and clear,” Mr. Gaier said Friday. “There was clear and consistent and very loud opposition to those sites, and we listened.”

Tom Bogdan of Montauk, who organized oppostion to the Flamingo Avenue site, praised PSEG for its responsiveness, but said he felt the town had ignored opponents.

“My highest praise goes to the people of Montauk who came together in unity and faced a multibillion-dollar corporation . . . and stared them down,” he said.

At this point, the utility is “looking at the remaining options we discussed at the Montauk workshop, again chiefly for constructability, proximity to load, proximity to transmission, ability to obtain required approvals, and of course public sentiment,” Mr. Gaier said by email on Tuesday.

Of the three, the property in parkland on the north side of the former landfill appeared to have the most downsides for the utility. Strikes against it, detailed in material presented at the April 2 meeting, are that not only would it re quire passage of legislation removing it from parkland designation, but it would also require significant clearing in nearby parkland for an access road, access to distribution lines, and a transmission route, according to PSEG.

From the town supervisor’s perspective, however, that site came out the winner.

“The results show that the vast majority of over 400 participants favor the county property just north of the landfill,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc wrote in an email yesterday. “The community will need to continue to show its support for this site, which is more sustainable and resilient given its higher elevation.”

The two LIPA-owned properties still in the mix are both in industrial areas and in proximity to the existing transmission supply and the load that needs to be served. Both would need to be raised above flood plain, which is a major downside for the town as it works to adapt to rising sea levels and encourage infrastructure improvements on higher ground.

PSEG acknowledged in April that the biggest drawback of the Navy Road site is that it is inconsistent with East Hampton Town’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. Fewer approvals would be required for a new facility at the current location, despite the town’s objections.

Mr. Van Scoyoc applauded PSEG’s effort to allow more community engagement in the choice of a site, which, he said in April, was in “stark contrast to PSEG’s previous interactions with East Hampton Town.”

“We’ll keep all stakeholders informed as we move forward, and we hope to have a decision by midsummer,” Mr. Gaier wrote on Tuesday.

Anyone interested in receiving updates on the effort can send an email to ExternalAffairsLI@PSEG.com

This article has been updated with the version that appeared in the May 9, 2019, edition.