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Town closes on new Justice Court building

The Town of Southold has officially closed on its purchase of the former Capital One building on Main Road in Southold. The building will be converted into the new Justice Court.

The property, at 54375 Main Road, became the town’s on Friday after it closed for $3.1 million, according to Town Supervisor Scott Russell.The town adopted a bond resolution in March to secure the $5.5 million estimated to purchase the building and complete necessary renovations. The town has $1.9 million for upgrades, with an extra $500,000 in contingency funds. The first phase of construction will cover things that are “long overdue,” Mr. Russell said, like a new roof. The second phase will be the conversion of the front of the building to the Justice Court.

“We did look at it to see if it would make more sense to move the rest of Town Hall there and make the existing Town Hall building the Justice Court but the front of the bank is smaller than it looks and the costs would be considerably higher,” Mr. Russell said.

The Justice Court offices are now located in a trailer attached to Town Hall, where the main meeting room doubles as a courtroom.

The town’s discussions on where to put the Justice Court have been going on for years, bouncing back and forth between building a new facility altogether or reconfiguring existing town buildings. In 2015, the town was toying with idea of putting the court in the community center on Peconic Lane. 

In 1977, the town moved its Justice Court proceedings to Town Hall, and added the current modular extension that houses the court staff that was supposed to be temporary, but more than 30 years later they remain in the modular.

In the “State of the Town” address in March, Mr. Russell said the town has been leasing the office space, where the Planning Department, accounting and personnel departments, currently reside, is a less costly option than continuing to lease or building a new structure elsewhere.

It would allow the current town offices to remain there and will provide 93 parking spaces which already exist at the building.

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Photo caption: The building on the corner of Main Road and Youngs Ave. will become home to the Southold Town Justice Court. (Rachel Siford photo)