Sprucing Up An Eyesore

Plantings for substation, and for train station
Contemplating prospective landscaping at the PSEG-Long Island electric substation in Amagansett Saturday were, from left, Michael Cinque of the Amagansett Village Improvement Society, Bob Parkinson, PSEG project manager, and Victor Gelb, Cathy Peacock, and Joan Tulp of A.V.I.S. Irene Silverman

Board members of the Amagansett Village Improvement Society, which has been working for the past year on an ambitious plan to upgrade and beautify the Amagansett train station, had a cordial meeting Saturday with representatives of PSEG-Long Island, which is set to begin landscaping its as-yet-unfinished electrical substation in the fall.

Cooperative interaction between the society and the utility was the goal.

A chain fence separates the substation from the railroad tracks. PSEG owns the land up to 10 feet from the fence, explained Bob Parkinson, project manager. Beyond that is Long Island Rail Road property, up to the parking area, which is owned by East Hampton Town.

The society’s plan, which was designed by Groundworks@Hren’s, would provide more parking spaces, with separate areas for motorcycles and scooters, small cars, bicycles, and an electric car section with a charging station. The plan, which would redirect the flow of traffic toward the Amagansett Firehouse, calls for repaving the parking area and installing “beach-type” plantings.

PSEG’s plan, meanwhile, is expected to hide much of the unsightly transmission grid installed in the past year at the corner of Old Stone Highway and Abram’s Landing Road. Larry Ferendez, senior forester, said the utility would plant “a mixed variety of evergreens against the fence, and lower-growing shrubs, both evergreen and flowering, in front.” The original idea was to plant a hedgerow in a single line around the substation, he said, but the landscaping was revised after town officials and A.V.I.S. asked that it be “more naturalistic” and less “like foundation plants in suburbia.” All the plantings except for some deer-resistant evergreens will be native to the region, Mr. Ferendez said, with the trees generally 8 to 10 feet tall and the shrubs about 18 to 36 inches. Drip irrigation, using public water on a timer system, will keep the new plantings healthy.

Ms. Peacock asked if the society could tap into the PSEG irrigation, but the answer was no. “We can’t run a water line over the railroad tracks,” Vincent Frigeria, district manager for external affairs, said. “Anything south of the railroad tracks has no bearing on us.” Both the A.V.I.S. directors and the utility officials agreed that the railroad was unlikely to be helpful as a source of irrigation, and Mr. Ferendez, shaking his head, called it an “insurmountable problem.”

The board members — Ms. Peacock, Barbara Borg, Joan Tulp, Michael Cinque, and Victor Gelb — suggested that PSEG, which has a grant program, might be able to help A.V.I.S. in other ways, perhaps by contributing to the redevelopment of the train station. On that note the meeting ended.

The Long Island Power Authority’s latest plan for its Amagansett substation, which is managed by PSEG-LI, features a “naturalistic” mix of trees and shrubs native to the East End. Landscaping is expected to begin in the fall.