Westhampton Beach Village Police were called to Village Hall on Friday afternoon to escort Beach Bakery owner Simon Jorna from the building when he refused to leave after being told that his demolition and building permits—documents needed to begin renovating his Main Street eatery—were still not ready.
Westhampton Beach Building and Zoning Administrator Paul Houlihan said he called Police Chief Ray Dean to the building department a few minutes after 4 p.m. Friday when Mr. Jorna refused to leave the office, which closed for the day at 4 p.m., after being told that his permits were not finalized. No charges were filed.
Village Board members signed off on Mr. Jorna’s site plan last month, years after he submitted his first set of renovations plans that have been modified many times since. He hopes to start the work this fall and reopen by Memorial Day.
On Tuesday, Mr. Houlihan explained that he could not immediately authorize the permits because he still needs to process paperwork that Mr. Jorna only submitted to his office early last week. “It is just another case of his nonsense and I am sick of it,” Mr. Houlihan said.
According to Mr. Jorna, he submitted the required paperwork—final signatures on documents, including those of a neighboring business—on Monday, November 5, and he is insisting that there is no valid reason for the village not authorizing the permits by the end of last week. Mr. Jorna said Mr. Houlihan is holding up the process and delaying when ground can be broken on the bakery’s expansion project.
“It is pure bureaucratic bull----,” Mr. Jorna said in an interview this week. “It is just obnoxious behavior from Paul Houlihan.”
Mr. Houlihan said he has no reason to delay the process. He confirmed that Mr. Jorna submitted the paperwork last Monday and it had to be sent to the village attorney, Richard Haefeli, for a final review. Because the village office was closed last Tuesday for Election Day, the documents were returned to Mr. Houlihan late last Wednesday once they were approved by Mr. Haefeli. Mr. Houlihan said he did not have time between then and last Friday to review the documents, noting that he has been tied up completing inspections along Dune Road following Superstorm Sandy, work that, he said, will allow the Long Island Power Authority to reenergize homes there.
Mr. Houlihan added that he is aware of Mr. Jorna’s time constraints, and that he expects to authorize the permits by next week, provided that all the documentation is correct. He said he called police only because Mr. Jorna refused to leave his office.
Mr. Dean said Mr. Jorna left the building without incident. A police report was not filed.
“I was called at the request of the building inspector because [Mr. Jorna] was refusing to leave the building,” Mr. Dean said. “He left and that was it—nothing earth-shattering.”