Though Southampton Hospital's move to the Stony Brook Southampton campus is still tentative — and several years off — the question of what will happen to the hospital's existing facility on 18 acres of prime real estate in Southampton Village is already being raised.
Village Mayor Mark Epley said Thursday that under existing zoning there is a wide range of possibilities for what could happen to the parcel on Meeting House Lane once the hospital vacates. It could become anything from an assisted living facility to single-family homes, he said, or even condominiums with a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
“Honestly, I’d like to see them back on the tax roles," Epley said. "That would be something."
Southampton Hospital spokeswoman Marsha Kenny said that hospital officials haven't even begun to consider what will happen with the parcel, because there are still many state approvals and regulatory processes to go through before the new affiliation with Stony Brook University Hospital is approved.
“It's so far down the road right now that we haven’t even gotten there,” Kenny said. She noted that the hospital's objective is to sell off the land and buildings; however, it could be as long as five to eight years before that happens, she said. “It's probably going to take us at least two to three years to even get to ground breaking."
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Epley said that, in the past, hospital officials have floated the possibility of keeping the building for a new revenue generating use.
“In my unofficial preliminary discussions with representatives of the hospital, their focus is a medical usage for that site, that would add another dimension to what Southampton Hospital offers the community," the mayor said. "What that looks like right now, I’m not sure.”
The hospital parcel is within two Southampton Village zoning districts, Epley said: the Medical District and Hospital Accessory District. Both fall under the Residential District banner in the village code.
Permitted medical and clinical uses, among several others, include offices for health care professionals, rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes. But there are residential and even agricultural uses permitted as well, Epley said.
Epley estimated that if the parcel was used for single-family residences, the density would be about one house per half acre. But because the property is so close to the Business District, there is the possibility for more density, he said — as many as six units per acre.
In 1990, the Village Board added a "floating zone" to the codebook called Multifamily Planned Residential Development District. It allows property owners to apply for medium-density multifamily housing development, within a half-mile of the Business District.
Hospital officials will consider all possibilities, and it will be a public discussion, Kenny said.
Epley said, “I have a lot of confidence in the way they’ll handle this whole process.”