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Jul 24, 2013 12:43 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Rumba Discussion Continues, Reluctantly

Jul 24, 2013 1:14 PM

Southampton Town officials recounted their ongoing struggles to address traffic safety and quality-of-life problems caused by the popularity of Rumba restaurant on Canoe Place Road in Hampton Bays for the Town Board last week—though, save for one, board members offered little input about how the problems might be addressed.

Town Police Chief Robert Pearce and Town Transportation Coordinator Tom Neely described the problems that have been created by the tiny restaurant, which sits in a largely residential neighborhood along the Hampton Bays waterfront, during last week’s work session.

Chief Pearce said cars and delivery trucks stopping in the narrow, winding road in front of the restaurant to make drop-offs have posed a significant hazard for drivers as cars cross the double yellow line to go around the stopped vehicles. Delivery trucks that use neighbors’ driveways to turn around have been another source of numerous complaints from residents, Mr. Neely added.

The restaurant has occupancy permits for only 16 people and Suffolk County Department of Health approval for 21, but is routinely packed with many times that number on busy nights, town officials said. Town code enforcement officers have found more than 70 seats in the restaurant on multiple occasions, and the owner, David Hersh, has been issued numerous town code violations over the years.

At the start of last summer, with the threat of an injunction to close the restaurant, the town required that it use a satellite parking lot for customers, employing a shuttle bus to bring customers to the restaurant, and that it have its overflowing septic system upgraded and pumped out on a regular basis. But many, if not most, patrons still stop in front of the restaurant to drop off their passengers before the driver proceeds to the satellite lot. And this spring the shuttle bus itself was involved in a collision on the road: it rolled over after colliding with a car driven by one of the restaurant’s neighbors pulling into their driveway.

Mr. Neely suggested that the restaurant’s parking lot could be modified to make it more of a driveway, allowing delivery truck drivers and customers to pull in and out of the road.

“The idea is to get the activity more in the parking lot and less in the travel lanes,” he said.

Mr. Neely said he has spoken with Mr. Hersh about blocking off the main entrance to the restaurant from the street to discourage motorists from stopping in the road rather than pulling into the driveway.

“It all falls on the owner,” Chief Pearce said. “We can make lots of suggestions, but it’s up to him to take those suggestions to his vendors. [For a delivery truck] to pull into that parking lot and ... turn around is not easy.”

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming acknowledged Mr. Neely’s considerations, saying that the restaurant’s problems need to be fixed by Mr. Hersh, and that neighbors should not be inconvenienced by the business.

“That is the responsibility of the folks who are running the place, to take on some of the burdens, rather than the neighbors, who aren’t making profit off of it,” Ms. Fleming said. “My perspective is that there is an establishment that is operating way, way over its capacity and the infrastructure there isn’t adequate for the numbers of people you see there.”

Nonetheless, Ms. Fleming was nearly the only board member to speak during the hour-long discussion with Mr. Neely and Chief Pearce. Just holding the discussion raised hackles between board members, particularly between Ms. Fleming and Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. Ms. Throne-Holst, who has been consistent in opposing most proposals for reining in Rumba’s operations, including as the lone opponent of last year’s threatened injunction, remained completely silent during last Thursday’s discussion, other than to thank the chief and Mr. Neely for their time at the conclusion of the discussion.

Ms. Fleming lamented that, despite the discussion and the steady flow of complaints from neighbors, there still “isn’t the appetite on the Town Board” to take concrete steps to address the issues.

“As everybody knows, I have a different view from other members of the board as to where our responsibility lies,” Ms. Fleming said. “It just highlights why this site is just not suitable for large numbers of people being served, frankly. But it’s a good discussion.”

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Sad that Fleming is the only one willing to take a stance. Could it not be any more obvious that ATH doesn't want to bite the hand that feeds (pays?). We know you get campaign donations from him, are you really telling me that his $$ is the only thing keeping you from beating Kabot in the election?

They have approval for 16 (stretch it to 21 as per SCDHS). Give them tickets or shut them down everytime they exceed this. It's unsafe for the patrons, it's unsafe for the neighborhoods and ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 24, 13 1:11 PM

It is time for Democrats in Southampton to unite and oppose the entrenched Democratic Party Executive Committee Politburo that has used Dictatorial powers to spend the better part of the last decade turning over the Party and its principles over to ATH and other Independence Party candidates, that has led to the despoiling of Shinnecock Bay as evidenced by the repeated and predictable algae blooms. This has rendered the Bay's world class shellfish dangerous in the summer except near the mouths ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jul 31, 13 7:06 PM
where's Kevin McCallister, our so-called "BayKeeper" with his out cry about septic system discharge into the bays. Silent...maybe he gets contributions/donations from Rumba's also!!!! Antone notice he's selective about certain issues, but he'll fight the homeowners each time....traitor!!!!!
By nazz (22), Flanders on Jul 24, 13 2:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
Nazz - ya know his wife is in charge of CPF for Southampton Town... between the two of them they have protected more in this Town than probably anyone combined.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 24, 13 3:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Baykeeper is on record about this. Please see the article 'New Plan is Pitched..." dated Feb 6, 2013.
By rburger (82), Remsenburg on Jul 25, 13 6:20 AM
2 members liked this comment
For those of you who didn't read the article referred to this is what the Baykeeper said:

Mr. McAllister added that a standard septic system, like the one being proposed, is not the answer, though county officials have noted that it meets current standards to protect groundwater.

“I am happy he has a successful business and I really take no exception to the level of patronage that he experiences day in and day out,” he said. “What they are proposing is a ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 5:11 PM
He only fights battles that will make money for his organization, directly or indirectly.
By getalife (61), Southampton on Jul 26, 13 12:29 PM
He's lived in Quogue for years, and has raised a family here...not sure how much more "local" you can get besides being a direct descendant of the english settlers.

By fojoxctf (13), Westhampton on Jul 26, 13 4:06 PM
I'm a descendant of Quaker English settlers from Salem who came to eastern Long Island in the 1600s. But my part of the family migrated up island to Brookhaven town in the 1800s. Now I live here. I'm not sure if I'm local or not. Am I a local once removed? A quasi-local?
By btdt (449), water mill on Jul 30, 13 7:30 PM
No Nazz, the owners of the property addressed the septic system over the winter, now they need something new to bitch about. As for the approval - it is for seating not standing, why can't you all quit your bitching about this place. Once again this is selective enforcement that is why the other board members are reluctant to take a stand, because then they will have to go after all the other local businesses not in any compliance. Plus Bridget Fleming is just the "front man" about these issues, ...more
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 24, 13 4:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
who is really pushing? do you live there? do you often travel on Canoe Place and have almost had several accidents because of the traffic?
By sirpoochala (78), Hampton Bays on Jul 24, 13 5:51 PM
Sirpoochala, YES I DO LIVE HERE, 4th generation Hampton Bays local! Travel Canoe Place Road almost every single day. Live right around the block from there. If YOU live around here, you know exactly who I mean, unless you are his wife. I can name off every single business that has had delivery trucks block traffic, cause traffic issues along Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays. Why isn't Bridget going after EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS in Hampton Bays that has delivery trucks deliver on Montauk Highway, ...more
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 10:21 AM
And forgot to add, when you only target one business, that is SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT! Which is against the law.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 10:25 AM
The Town will investigate any restaurant being complained about. Have you filed complaints about other restaurants? It's negligence on the TB's part for not addressing what is clearly an overcrowded situation (in violation of the law - as per NYS building codes) not to mention the ancillary problems (traffic/rumba busses/parking/septic).

We get it, you think Ed Warner and Co. are somehow driving this. Can you NOT acknowledge that the property is grossly overcrowded during operating ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 10:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
The latest complaint is about the DELIVERY TRUCKS blocking traffic. I am addressing that accusation by Bridget Fleming. Not just Hampton Bays, what about the delivery trucks blocking traffic on County Road 39 when they are delivering to businesses. I am addressing that complaint question posed by Fleming. As for the bus shuffling patrons to and from the Marina, this was agreed upon by the Town as there is extremely little parking behind Rumba. Since you want to address the Vendetta, it's because ...more
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 11:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
Feel free to file a complaint with Code enforcement on any and all businesses and those complaints will have to be investigated.

I think you're a smart enough person to be able to see the difference between deliverys on Montauk Highway to businesses and deliverys in a residential neighborhood on a small winding road.

Can you also admit that Rumba is running well over capacity and in violation of the fire marshall's posted limit of # of people?

You claim that the delivery ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 11:59 AM
PS Nature, you should come down there and enjoy a Rum Punch, you might think differently after tasting that lovely nectar of the gods :)
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 12:31 PM
It is sad that she believes this. There is and has been a problem with this restaurant. There is not enough parking because it isn't meant to have more parking than it needs for customers to be seated.

It is wrong that the rest of the Town Board does not speak up. If the code enforcement isn't doing their job, they should say so. If they are, they need to support the employees they employ and the laws on the books of our town.

By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 4:45 PM
Ohhh he does.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 5:02 PM
??? He who???
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 5:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sirpoochala - I have traveled Canoe Place Road and seen the Rumba Bus plowing through stop sides, coming over the double yellow line and generally driving in an erratic matter. This has been for years, even before their accident. There are people all over the road. It is a dangerous spot and not meant to have the volume of nighttime traffic that it does.

Yes, there are those that don't want to believe it, but it is well known to be true.

By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 5:23 PM
And how did they fix the septic problem. Oh, that's rite, they pump it out every other day. ATH pay to play.
By bobypines (7), southampton on Jul 24, 13 7:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
What about the septic systems at the Condos? That's ok right?
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 10:23 AM
They were designed to adequetly handle the predicted flow based on # of units. They are within their SCDHS approvals - Rumba of course is not as they have ~70 seats and approval for 21. I guess all those people are holding it in while they dine and waiting to get shuttled back to their parking spots to relieve themselves?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 10:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 11:38 AM
There are not 70 seats. Where did you get this number?
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 11:40 AM
The article states: "Town code enforcement officers have found more than 70 seats in the restaurant on multiple occasions, and the owner, David Hersh, has been issued numerous town code violations over the years."
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 11:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
Might be time for the Town to seek injunctive relief in court?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 12:00 PM
Over the years and it was addressed last year. So using old numbers is useless.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 12:27 PM
There is only 21 seats INSIDE the restaurant. There is several seats OUTSIDE on the deck.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 12:29 PM
I'm not using old numbers - I'm using facts presented in the article. Additionally, the Town only allows 16 seats (inside and out) so your argument of 21 inside and "several" outside is moot. Not to mention how many patrons are "standing room only"?

And I'll pass on the Rum Punch invite. Again, nothing against the business, business model or buisness man (per say), but his disregard of the law (which is there for the safety of his own patrons) is inexcusable and he should be forced ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 12:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
I won't get into why other Town Board members don't want to pursue this matter, because that's all speculation, inuendo, and ultimately mud-slinging. I'll just stick to the facts, which are that the place is an acute neighborhood nuisance, a traffic hazard and an environmental hazard which grossly exceeds its permitted capacity on a daily basis.

Given these undisputed facts, Bridget Fleming is the only person on the Board with any honesty or gumption on this issue, and the only one who ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 24, 13 10:17 PM
4 members liked this comment
Get real. Fleming is just like every other politician. Only this year her seat is not up for re-election so she can play to the crowds. This Rumba issue has been around for quite a while and only now we hear from Fleming. She is actually the worst kind of politician. That is a politician who goes with the flow regardless of right or wrong. Maybe she is right this time about Rumba but let's not raise her to sainthood just yet. Take a look at the PBA contract she just supported before it was rejected ...more
By fuou812 (59), Oakdale on Jul 25, 13 10:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
Gee George, I am amazed to hear that you have seen the light and will no longer predicate your posts on "speculation, innuendo, and ultimately mud-slinging" and just stick to the facts. What a breath of fresh air that would be if you truly follow those precepts.

And yes George we are in agreement concerning Ms. Fleming's stand on this issue. It would only be logical to conclude from your comments that you and I are also in agreement concerning the Supervisor's acceptance of campaign finance ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 11:06 AM
2 members liked this comment
The place was a fishing station renting row boats for Gods sake. This is the town turning a blind eye to enforcement. If God forbid there is an accident the town will have some major liabiliity for that protecting the public.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 25, 13 8:52 AM
Was a Fishing station back in the 40's. It has been a restaurant since the 90's. Not Rumba but other restaurants.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 10:23 AM
At least you finally understand that it was a Fishing Station. Now get the dates right. They didn't close in the 40s.

By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 4:49 PM
Where did I say it closed in the 40's?

I get some of you want all the small businesses out of Hampton Bays and there be nothing in this town but some tumbleweeds as people pass through. If my grandmother was still alive (she was a small business owner in HB for over 30 years) she would be appalled at the constant attack of a small business. I have watched my Uncle's small businesses close because of bigger business coming in, watched IGA close and many other places here over the years. ...more
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 5:00 PM
You said it was a fishing station back in the 40's...what about the 50's 60's 70's?

This isn't about "small business" in our town. There are plenty of them and they manage to live within the laws of our town. Rumba is not one of them. Why don't you fight for the ones that are an asset to our community? Oh that's right, the rum punch. Valid argument.

By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 5:08 PM
What are these people thinking? We live in an area that is connected by a single lane highway from one end to the other... Can you say MTK HWY? What kind of establishment can survive here with a 16 seat capacity? Our entire town board and code system is what needs to be re-addressed. You want commerce, but not too much as to inconvienent you. We live in one of the most sought after vacation destinations in the world... But you complain every year about "The traffic"... You want to talk about danger... ...more
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Jul 25, 13 10:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
Soundview, awesome post! Thank you and would love a Rum Punch!
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 11:42 AM
Ah yes, The Golden Rule.

She who has the gold makes the rule . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 12:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
If the establishment can't survive on 16 tables then wouldn't you think they shouldn't open there? What do you suggest, the Town builds them a different building? LOL

I have traveled past the Boardy Barn and I have traveled past Rumba...I prefer Boardy Bard. It is safer.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 4:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
The complaints are cominglfrom lessrthac a handffl of people. ats Ed Wanner and fis wife and a womaE namad Irene Tully. Everyone knows that. They are not motivated by what's best for the town, they are motivated by what's best for them and their homes. The people of the town want restaurants like rumba and their new restaurant Cowfish. I have not been proud to live in Hampton Bays for quite sometime. I now feel differently since I see these new great restaurants bringing business to the local ...more
By HBCOMMITTED (2), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 1:32 PM
4 members liked this comment
The complaints are NOT only coming from the few individuals you mentioned. Surely you don't think all those who wrote in this dialogue are those few that you mentioned. It would seem though that the patrons ARE the only ones who aren't complaining.

By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 4:53 PM
Bravo HBCommited! Everything you said is correct! Even as to who the complainants are. As for bb, how would you know who is complaining? Are you privy to something we don't know. It is a well known fact amongst the locals who is doing all the complaining.

And I agree with HBcommitted as I stated above, would you be happy to have all the small businesses (mom and pop businesses) gone. These are the people that live here year around, want to make our Hamlet a wonderful little place ...more
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 25, 13 5:08 PM
Well since there are more than " ats Ed Wanner and fis wife and a womaE namad Irene Tully. " stating here that they think there is a problem, and since I am not one of those people mention and I know there is a problem, and since I know that there are dozens of other people who have a problem with it, I am confident that neither of you are accurate.

Your daughter can work at another restaurant; plenty of other college students do; this isn't "selective enforcement" and who is this "one ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 5:20 PM
Shut them down already! It's crazy there is so much dialog on this. Rumba is operating, in some manner, illegally and they knowingly do it. Great place or not, they should be proactive and make changes to help the situation but they really don't try. It almost seems that the owners are laughing and smirking about the whole thing in all of the area residents faces.

I mean come on, someone could have gotten seriously injured on that bus that flipped over taking people from the remote ...more
By whatapity (106), Tuckahoe on Jul 25, 13 5:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think the neighbors need to realize what will happen to rumba if they keep harassing the establishment. It's not going to get shut down. The concept will just change. They should be happy that its a restaurant. I love going there as well as the whole town. Do the neighbors want a 21 seat drinking establishment open till 4 am? If Irene doesn't pull her head out of you know where, that's what will happen to my favorite restaurant.

Rumba is great for the community!! I talked to ...more
By HBCOMMITTED (2), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 7:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
"I love going there as well as the whole town."

We do? Thanks for speaking for us all.

Rumba is not any different in their support for the community than dozens of other businesses. That does NOT give them the right to flout the laws.

Overcrowding homes are just as illegal as overcrowded restaurants. Wouldn't
that be the 'selective enforcement' that was being complained about?

All rules should be enforced. Supporting the community that supports you does ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 13 8:26 PM
I love Rumba and I have to travel the road to get to my home. Hopefully, solutions can be found vis a vis the parking/road/septic. However, I will remind all that there were a number of unsuccessful restaurants there prior to Rumba. Also, isn't it great that we have a good, fun restaurant with quality, moderately priced food and drink in a great location. Instead of trying to shut it down, lets find solutions that work for all - keeping in mind that no one is going to be 100% satisfied.
By KathleenKettles (4), Woodside, New York on Jul 31, 13 8:08 AM
1 member liked this comment
I don't think anyone is trying to shut it down - I think those "opposed" to Rumba want to see it comply with the rules like everyone else. Like I've stated previously, I have no problem with Cowfish and have been there many times. I refuse to go to Rumba until he gets his act together and stops believing that he can flout all rules/regulations
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 1, 13 12:37 PM