The owners of the Montauk Beach House are challenging a July ruling by East Hampton Town Senior Building Inspector Tom Preiato that the resort business violated the town code by operating a public bar and retail shop without proper approvals last summer.
Montauk Beach House LLC, the company that owns the Montauk Beach House at the former Ronjo Motel site, is seeking to overturn Mr. Preiato’s ruling at a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Tuesday, February 5, at Town Hall. The hearing is the last one in a list of four and is slated to take place around 7:30 p.m., according to a town public hearing notice.
On July 27, Mr. Preiato issued a letter to Chris Jones, one of the business’s owners, asking him to stop the uses, because they were never outlined in a site plan approval or building permit. The letter noted that a “full bar” exists where a counter in the resort’s “guest services building” was proposed to be, according to plans submitted to Mr. Preiato’s office.
“It is clearly evident that the bar is being used for more than guest services,” he stated in the letter. “Based upon my inspection I determine that the service bar is being used as a general public ‘bar,’ a use not approved for the structure.” The building inspector also cited the creation of a retail shop in a former shed.
Mr. Jones, when reached on Monday evening, said he had no comment “at this stage.”
The property was in the spotlight last year after Supervisor Bill Wilkinson moved to sell a town-owned alleyway to the business owners for $35,000. The decision lit a political fuse on the Town Board—with Democrats requesting that an appraisal be undertaken. Republicans at first rebuffed that effort, but after local Democrats launched a petition drive to force a referendum on the sale, the board agreed to an appraisal. The Democrats also commissioned their own appraisal. The alley was eventually sold to the Montauk Beach House.