The Mattituck Fire District is moving forward with plans to expand the firehouse by setting a date for a community vote, more than a year after an initial proposal was defeated.
On Sept. 12, the board of fire commissioners, which oversees the Mattituck Fire Department, adopted a resolution to seek a $13 million capital bond referendum that will go before the public on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The total cost of the project is $15.5 million, but the district has approximately $2.5 million in its building reserve fund already.
In June of 2022, voters rejected an $11 million expansion project in a 71-to-50 vote.
But, chairman of the board Jason Haas said in a statement, “The firehouse, as it currently stands, no longer meets the needs of the fire department and presents safety challenges for our volunteers who put their lives at risk to keep our community safe.”
He added, “Changes in mandated safety regulations, spatial limitations and outdated building systems are posing serious challenges.”
Revised plans include renovating the current firehouse, just around the corner from Main Road and Love Lane, and building a two-story addition to the existing building, according to a press release. Room is needed to accomplish this task so the original firehouse, built in 1929, will be relocated elsewhere on the property and the building currently being used as the district office will be demolished, if voters approve the bond.
The expansion would allow for four pull-through truck bays, allowing volunteers to respond to emergencies quickly and more efficiently, the board says. It will also provide for new community meeting space, a full kitchen and additional office and training spaces. A separate gear area will also be built so that volunteers can safely suit up as a call comes in. Right now, they get dressed just inches away from the apparatus as the engines are started.
The new building will be brought up to American for Disabilities Act, Occupational Safety Health Administration and Federal Emergency Management Administration standards, which the district cannot currently comply with due to spatial constraints, a statement says.
For the average household, the tax increase would be approximately $114 per year if the project is approved.
In March of 2023, the board launched a series of meetings with department volunteers to review the defeated proposal and gather input.
“Based on the feedback of our membership, we developed a revised plan that meets their needs and creates a safer environment for them. We are hopeful that the entire Mattituck community will make an informed decision about the project and participate in the vote on Oct. 24.”
The vote will take place at the firehouse, located at 1000 Pike Street in the hamlet, from 3 to 9 p.m.
Information on the proposed project will be mailed out to residents in the coming weeks and will be posted to the fire district’s Facebook page. A public hearing will be held on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. at the firehouse.