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Mar 3, 2010 1:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach looks to tighten outdoor music permit application process

Mar 3, 2010 1:38 PM

Members of the Westhampton Beach Village Board discussed tightening the municipality’s outdoor music permit regulations and possibly raising beach access fees during last week’s work session.

Board members asked Village Attorney Bo Bishop during their meeting last Wednesday, February 24, to draft an amendment to the outdoor tables and music law that would forbid business owners from securing a permit if there are outstanding violations filed against their establishments.

Currently, the village code does not allow a person to advance an application before any of the village’s boards, such as its planning and zoning boards, if there are violations on file against him or her. But that provision applies only to zoning, not to obtaining music permits, Mr. Bishop said.

Board members said they would like those businesses applying for music permits to have a clean slate. Four businesses—The Beach Bakery, Wetter or Not, Shock Ice Cream and Starr Boggs—secured outdoor music permits last summer from the village.

The discussion came about after Village Clerk and Treasurer Kathy McGinnis informed board members that The Beach Bakery on Main Street, which has zoning violations filed against it, applied to renew its outdoor music permit for this summer.

Owner Simon Jorna violated his 1998 site plan last year by bringing in a storage trailer and illegally renovating a second-story apartment above his business, increasing it from three to five bedrooms, according to Paul Houlihan, Westhampton Beach’s building and zoning administrator. The Village Justice Court is now handling the violations.

When reached on Tuesday, Mr. Jorna said he will return to court soon to address the violations. He also said that if board members think that the music he offers is bad for the village, they should decline to renew his permit for this summer.

Mr. Jorna then added that the musicians he hosts on Friday and Saturday nights during the summer months are very popular events that attract traffic to the downtown. “There’s no question about that,” he said, adding that he plans on attending the work session later this month.

In August, Mr. Jorna hosted an outdoor musician who drew hundreds of people to his bakery. At the time, some Village Board members complained that people in the crowd, including those who brought beach chairs, blocked the sidewalk, which violated the terms of the music permit. Mr. Jorna was never served with a violation notice from that incident because no one filed a complaint with Westhampton Beach Village Police, according to officials.

To secure an outdoor music permit, a business must first fill out a special exemption application, which then goes before the Westhampton Beach Planning Board for review. Then, a public hearing is scheduled and the Village Board ultimately approves or denies a permit. A business can then apply annually to renew the permit, which does not require an additional public hearing.

Village Board member Toni-Jo Birk said she would like to implement a lottery system of sorts so different businesses do not offer live music on the same nights.

The board will discuss Mr. Bishop’s proposed changes at the next work session scheduled for Wednesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. A public hearing would have to be held before the village can adopt the amendment, according to Mayor Conrad Teller.

Beach Permit Fees

Board members are considering raising the fees the village now charges non-residents for beach access after disclosing that it collected $13,552 less in 2009 than it did in 2008.

Beach revenues collected by the village decreased from $189,840 in 2008 to $176,288 in 2009, according to officials. The bulk of that decrease, or about $16,600, was attributed to a reduction in beach access permits that were issued. At the same time, the village collected about $3,000 more in guest fees in 2009 as compared to 2008.

The village currently charges non-residents and those who rent summer homes in Westhampton Beach $300 for a permit and ID card to access Rogers and Lashley beaches between May and September. It also charges seasonal renters who live outside the village boundaries $600 a year, and non-resident students $5 for an ID and $25 for a permit. The village also gives free ID cards, but not stickers, to people who work at businesses in the village.

It is not clear how much the fees for non-residents and seasonal renters would increase as board members did not discuss figures during last week’s work session.

Westhampton Beach residents, village employees, and members of the Westhampton Beach Fire Department and Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance receive two complimentary beach stickers and ID cards that allow them free access to village beaches.

Ms. Birk said she would like to see the beach permit fee increase for students, and the village implement a new fee schedule for the ID cards given to businesses. Ms. McGinnis also suggested re-examining the fee charged to non-residents who still volunteer with the local fire department and ambulance company.

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Tighten the code?
Just enforce the code! !!
Actually Loosen up the code , come down enjoy the music on a breezy summer's night on Main St
So many people do, there are always crabby people in a crowd as well that are miserable so they can just go home and enjoy their own solitutude but don't take away the music for the couple of poeple that don't enjoy the music
By shock (70), whb on Mar 6, 10 10:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
I like the music too...even if it's bad! I wish they would let it go later at night...the place becomes a ghost town when it stops.
By TheGoodLife (43), Westhampton Beach on Mar 6, 10 1:07 PM
Unfortunately, the place is a ghost town most of the time unless you are a real estate agent. Leave the music alone or it will become a permanent ghost town.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 7, 10 5:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
Our main economic engine is the seasonal tourist and renter. One of the few things that we can offer to them besides the performing arts center is the outdoor music that some local businesses provide for FREE! This small attraction is worth it's weight in gold in keeping our taxes low and providing income to our local business environment. We should be encouraging business to do more innovative and creative things to attract and hold those visitors with cash to spend. Just try to imagine what Westhampton ...more
By foodie (74), Remsenburg on Mar 6, 10 5:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
a net loss of 13k on 186K and they want to raise fees?
Sounds completely greedy to me.
By Hambone (514), New York on Mar 7, 10 12:04 AM
On the contrary, it is far from greedy to raise fees on non-residents who wish to use the beaches of the Village. These are but a few of the problems I have seen
A) Parking on weekends is impossible for a resident after 1130 or so, and non-residents take up 30 percent or more of the spots
B) I have seen non-residents hurl profanities at the beach staff on 2 separate occasions (they are clearly visible by their picture passes)
C) They are, in general, much more convinced that 'they own ...more
By BeachGoer83 (2), Westhampton Beach on Mar 7, 10 5:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wait a minute...don't they need the extra $$$ to pay for the suspended cops?
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 7, 10 4:39 PM
Why did the Board members complain since there was never a violation issured?
Now they want to run a lottery.So they can give the permits to there buddys in town.
Maybe they are worried about the music because it keeps the police from sleeping
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Mar 7, 10 7:09 PM
This village board needs to just step away for a minute and rethink their positions on everything they have been doing since they assumed office. If they are concerned with revenue for the village then why tighten a restriction on village businesses? That is absolutely stupid! and the exact opposite of what needs to be done to keep more people on Main street and in the village shops. I think it's pretty nice having music on Main Street and on Sunset. Quit trying to micromanage many due to the ...more
By sayitaintsojoe (100), Westhampton on Mar 10, 10 10:38 AM
1 member liked this comment