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Jul 11, 2012 11:32 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town Leans On Rumba; Board Appoints Hearing Officer For Tumbarello

Jul 11, 2012 11:56 AM

Despite pleas of support from faithful customers and the objections of Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, the Southampton Town Board agreed on Tuesday to authorize the Town Attorney’s office to seek an injunction against a popular Hampton Bays restaurant if it does not steeply reduce the number of patrons it serves at one time.

The board voted unanimously to give Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato the authority to take the owner of Rumba, on Canoe Place Road, to State Supreme Court if they do not comply with the occupancy limits they are approved for but regularly exceed by broad margins. The approval came only after Town Councilman Jim Malone offered a slight amendment to the resolution that left some wiggle room for the town to not seek an actual injunction, because Ms. Throne-Holst and a few of the other board members did not appear eager to handcuff the tiny restaurant with a giant following at the height of the critical summer season.

Nonetheless, the board acknowledged that the restaurant exceeds its occupancy limit five or six times over on a regular basis and is due in Town Justice Court this week to answer charges filed against it for violations dating back two seasons. The Suffolk County Department of Health has approved the restaurant for an occupancy of only 21 people. On several occasions in the last few years, however, town Code Enforcement officers have found seating for more than 70 people at the restaurant, including on an outdoor patio that is not approved for any seating at all, and a far larger number of total occupants.

“The proprietor has been given two years to comply with Suffolk County Health Department and town building codes with regard to the capacity there ... now there’s new violations,” said Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, who offered the resolution to seek a state injunction. “This is the third year that this proprietor has operated in this way and now he has expanded to another restaurant. At this level of egregiousness, we’re talking six to seven times [the legal capacity] and the failure of the parking lot, which, if fixed, doesn’t mean that the underlying problem is solved.”

Ms. Fleming said she began pressing for more drastic action against Rumba owner David Hersh following the collapse of a portion of the restaurant’s steeply sloped driveway and parking lot, apparently caused by problems with the septic system. The restaurant’s septic system has been the target of concerns from residents and environmental groups who have pointed to recent studies that show that septic systems are polluting local bays.

Ms. Throne-Holst offered some support for the restaurant owner, noting that he has met with town officials, repaired the driveway and septic system failure that caused the damage, and is eager to find ways to address the violations. She also said it seems counterproductive to take a thriving business to task during lean economic times.

“We can’t say out of one side of our mouths that we support job creation and economic development and then not be willing to work with those that do that,” she said, calling the resolution to seek an injunction “selective enforcement” on the town’s part. “We have met in good faith and came to some understanding of how we felt they could move forward.

“The owner has made substantial changes, he’s out of compliance and he knows he’s out of compliance,” she continued. “We have an obligation, I believe, to work with businesses that are trying to stay productive and keep people employed.”

Hearing Officer Appointed

The Town Board also on Tuesday agreed to appoint a hearing officer to review disciplinary charges filed against Alfred Tumbarello, a Town Code Enforcement officer who was arrested earlier this year and charged with selling drugs.

The town appointed Southampton attorney Linda Riley to serve as the hearing officer for Mr. Tumbarello’s disciplinary proceeding, which will deal with charges filed against him by the town. It remains to be seen whether those charges relate directly to the circumstances of his arrest.

Mr. Tumbarello has never been officially suspended by the Town Board, but he has been on unpaid leave since his arrest in April, according to Town Management Services Administrator Russell Kratoville. Mr. Kratoville would not discuss the nature of the charges.

Mr. Tumbarello was arrested on April 18 and charged with three felony counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree, after he sold narcotics to undercover officers in Westhampton Beach on multiple occasions, investigators said.

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Probably just a coincidence that on November 2, 2011, Rumba Rum Bar, LLC contributed $1000.00 to Anna Throne-Holst for Supervisor Re-election finance campaign committee.

Gee wasn't that about the time the Supervisor had to return all those illegal campaign contributions she had received over the contribution limit. Oh, yes, on October 18, 2011 Ms. Throne-Holst had to return $10,118.95 is illegal over the limit campaign contributions.

A cynic might think that 1000 bucks might ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jul 11, 12 1:22 PM
4 members liked this comment
This entire situation with Rumba is a perfect example of what happens when the wrong people have any sort of power or authority. Rumba has complied with any demands and requests made (no parking on the street: valet and shuttle service implemented, septic system pumped every 4 days to prevent environmental damage), to ensure neighbors suffer no inconvenience. Yet, Rumba has not been recognized for doing so.

Conveniently, there is no mention of the recent extensive damage done to a Rumba ...more
By luckyflagg (3), hampton bays on Jul 12, 12 4:35 PM
2 members liked this comment
Wow a conspiracy and everything? Sorry, driving down Canoe Place Road at night I do not feel that Rumba "is good for everyone". Too many people in too small an area causes problems.

Convenient that you don't mention the sewage issues instead of ranting about some "good old boy".
By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 13, 12 2:03 PM
Perhaps you should reread the comment you are taking to task . It clearly states that rmba has its septic pumped every 4 days. No one else does it that frequently. They are obviously trying to be ecologically sensible here.
By bubby (236), southampton on Jul 15, 12 7:11 PM
Right no one has to have their septic system pumped every 4 days because they are equipped for the usage of the building.
By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 15, 12 9:52 PM
Actually they are equipped for the usage of the building. Rumba has their septic system pumped to PREVENT and AVOID damage...
By luckyflagg (3), hampton bays on Jul 23, 12 7:36 AM
So they are equipped to handle only a few days usage? Why would that be?
By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 23, 12 9:08 PM
We need to stop the outrageous outrage. The whole eastern end of Long Island could be taken to court for not complying with the occupancy limits it is approved for but regularly exceeds by broad margins.

I did hear Rep. Hank Johnson is worried LI might tip over.
By jams (127), hampton bays on Jul 13, 12 3:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
@ bb, are you kidding me?! Rumba doesn't have parking on the street, they have satellite parking, so there is not too many cars. You must be the PITA on Canoe Place Road causing all the problems for Rumba. Rumba happens to be a wonderful addition to Hampton Bays. It employs many of the Hampton Bays High School graduates that work during the summer to help pay for their colleges, it brings in much needed commerce, they pay their taxes, they pump their septic system every 4 days, there is NOT ...more
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 13, 12 4:43 PM
2 members liked this comment
Wow Terbear you must spend a lot of time at this place since you know how often they pump their cesspools! Why in the world would anyone NEED to pump their cesspools every 4 days? Surely sounds like a reason that what the Town Board is saying is true, not false. As far as the condos, are you suggesting they are torn down because...Well because what? They were built as condos with the appropriate septic needs. Rumba's on the other hand, was never intended to be a restaurant it was built as a ...more
By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 14, 12 2:40 PM
bb - there has been a restaurant on that site for years, prior to Rumba it was margaritaville, what fishing station?! Rumba is taking care to make sure there isn't a septic issue by having it pumped out every 4 days. And if you read someones comment above me and as well as watch the town meeting on line - the Supervisor gave the pumping information. What are you talking about they don't adhere to the stop signs? And if you coming flying around that corner then you need to learn to slow down. ...more
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 14, 12 6:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
Where exactly did the Supervisor state this? I seemed to have missed that at the meeting or in the reports I've read but I certainly have no reason to doubt you. I am glad that Anna will be requiring all to follow the rules. By all means, the rules and codes are there for everyone. I am a bit surprised that the Supervisor would reprimand Town employees at an open meeting.

I am well aware that it was a restaurant before Terbear, obviously you haven't been around long enough to know ...more
By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 14, 12 7:22 PM
bb- I was born in Southampton Hospital, my family has been here for four generations, my daughter is the fifth generation. So yes, I have been around a very long time, but thank you for asking. Since I live off Argonne Road, I spend alot of time driving Canoe Place Road. Feel free to watch the town meeting, there was quite a bit of concern by the Town Supervisor that this was selective enforcement. check the July 10th meeting, it's online dear :).

The newer establishment is called Cowfish, ...more
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 14, 12 9:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
There is a difference between "concern about selective enforcement" and stating there IS selective enforcement. Perhaps that is why I didn't hear Anna state "Rumba IS being targeted with selective enforcement.". Her "having concern" really isn't the same thing. But why bother to be accurate, much more intriguing to put in a bit of spin.

Thanks for sharing your family tree...what does that have to do with anything? LOL Your statement: "what fishing station?!" indicates that you don't ...more
By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 15, 12 8:00 AM
2 members liked this comment
bb - this building was a fishing station before I was born and it was owned by Mr. Bradley and please realize the building's original purpose was as a welding shop.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 16, 12 10:06 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 16, 12 10:08 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 16, 12 10:08 AM
And your point would be?

By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 16, 12 4:11 PM
@ Luckyflagg, I am right there with you. "mr. local" needs to stop this nonsense at once. I bet he is hoping the business will close so he can snatch up another property on Canoe Place Road. I also believe he is using his "position" to get this pushed and that is wrong!
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 14, 12 2:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
you hit the nail on the head!! Finally, someone who can see through local politics!!
By luckyflagg (3), hampton bays on Jul 23, 12 7:39 AM
No one, even the owners in their plea for support from the community, has stated that they are NOT overcrowded. How is enforcing the code "seeing through local politics? " I have asked this before and the question hasn't been addressed.

If they are overcrowded, they are in violation of the code. Same as any other establishment. Why is the defense that some local, political person is causing trouble. Overcrowding= Violations of Code. Where is this person in the equation?
By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 23, 12 9:11 PM
What nonsense? I am not sure who this person is that you are referring to but I'd like to give them a hand! They seem to be very powerful indeed to get the Town Board say there is a problem when there isn't and to get the Code Enforcement say there is a problem when there isn't.

Again, pumping cesspools constantly certainly support the belief that there is a problem at this site.

Can't people just go to the other restaurant which is able to handle the crowd? I understood that ...more
By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 14, 12 2:45 PM
How the hell did this become a restaurant nite club? It was a seafood retail store and row boat rental place!
By chief1 (2697), southampton on Jul 15, 12 7:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
It isn't a NIGHT CLUB. It is just a restaurant. They close by 11:00 pm, so where did you get this information that it is a night club? Since bb said I didn't know the origins of the building, I asked my uncle who is much older than I am. This building's origins started as a welding shop over 65 years ago. Then old man Bradley bought it and it was a fishing station before I was born. Then it became a seafood store, a row boat rental over the last decade or so it has been a restaurant.

There ...more
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 16, 12 10:05 AM
Congratulations Ter now you know what boat station! LOL Guess I actually knew what I was talking about when I said it wasn't built to house a restaurant.

As far as employee HB Grads, will they not have employees if they stay within the codes?

They have a larger establishment use it to it's capacity and use Rumba to it's capacity. Its really pretty simple.

By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Jul 16, 12 4:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Damon.Hagan (34), Hampton Bays on Jul 18, 12 11:53 AM
bay street, sag harbor,