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May 22, 2018 5:13 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Village Board Permits Take-Out Food Stores In Commercial District

Lisa Blinderman, owner of Second Nature Markets, addressing the East Hampton Village Board. JON WINKLER
May 23, 2018 8:49 AM

East Hampton Village residents and visitors could end up skipping the wait for a restaurant and just order some takeout.

The East Hampton Village Board on Friday amended the village code to permit stores that are exclusively for takeout in the commercial district.

Village Administrator Becky Hansen explained on Tuesday that the idea of adding takeout as a permitted use came up after the village received inquiries from food retailers within the last year, which sparked discussion among the board’s members at recent work sessions.

The village code was amended in 2008 to include a definition of fast-food restaurants that included “retail stores that sell over-the-counter food in individual portions in a ready-to-consume state,” without regard to whether it was a chain restaurant that provided seating on premises or a specialty store providing takeout food intended for off-premises consumption, a rationale for the amendment noted.

This was meant to keep the village’s outdoor sidewalk trash bins from overflowing with takeout wrappers, but the Village Board subsequently perceived a public demand for “local stores that can provide takeout food and beverages.

According to the new definition, a takeout food store does not have a customer seating area to facilitate “consumption off the premises” and must have an “adequate” number of trash bins or waste baskets to keep the surrounding area free from litter.

Only two people spoke at a public hearing on Friday, both in favor of the amendment.

The first was Jodi Giglio, a Riverhead Town councilwoman and owner of the land-use consulting firm Bennett Enterprises, who represented Sheffield Cafeteria LLC to pitch putting a Hampton Coffee Company shop across from the village train station. Ms. Giglio said after the hearing that the shop could go next to the Buoy One seafood market at 17 Race Lane, in one of the three buildings owned by Bruce Siska, a Village Board member, who recused himself from voting on the amendment.

“We think it would be an added amenity to the residents of East Hampton who take the train and commute, so that they can grab a cup of coffee or a snack on the way to the train,” Ms. Giglio said at a public hearing before the vote.

Lisa Blinderman, owner of Second Nature Markets, said she believed that the organic juice bar in Second Nature’s Southampton store helped attract customers into that village. While she acknowledged that adding a juice bar to the East Hampton store could create more trash for employees to clean up, she also said it could draw more people into revitalizing the business section of Newtown Lane.

“Has anyone taken a walk down Newtown Lane during the winter lately? There’s nothing going on,” Ms. Blinderman said. “I believe that food, whether it’s me who’s serving it or the Juice Press if they’re going to be able to, it doesn’t matter who does it. It will bring people into the village.”

Trustee Richard Lawler, who also spoke in favor of the amendment, emphasized the need for business owners to ensure that their trash cans don’t overflow and keep litter from their stores off the streets and sidewalks as much as possible.

Ms. Hansen said on Tuesday that the amendment will become official once it is adopted by the state.

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