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Nov 7, 2008 11:08 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Cafe owner and neighbor verbally spar over noise

Nov 7, 2008 11:08 AM

A spat over amplified music offered at a local Café, one that involved a local resident and the manager of the Sunset Avenue business, broke out during last week’s Westhampton Beach Village Board meeting, preceding the board’s decision to deny the Café’s request for an outdoor music permit.

Additionally, Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller noted that, due to a large number of complaints about excessive noise, the village is considering banning live outdoor music at local businesses and restaurants starting as early as next summer.

The Sunset Café, a small eatery located in Westhampton Beach that serves organic food, has had a permit application before the village since June, though the business still offered amplified outdoor music on certain days during the summer. Regardless, the business never received any summonses from the village for violating the code, according to village officials.

During last Thursday night’s public hearing on the outdoor music permit application—which was now before the Village Board even though summer ended seven weeks ago—village resident Stephen Ramsay complained about noise coming from the Sunset Avenue Café. Mr. Ramsay, who lives near the business, explained that the shop still offers live amplified music inside the Café, which is allowed as long as the music is not excessively loud.

“How many complaints do you have to get before you don’t give people an outdoor permit?” Mr. Ramsay mockingly asked of board members.

The board opted to deny the establishments’ request without prejudice, meaning that the Café owners can still submit another outdoor music permit application to the village for next summer and that the board would not hold any previous violations against the applicant.

Recently, Mr. Ramsay has taken issue with the fact that Sunset Café advertises itself as a “wine and martini bar” and also offers live Latin music on some Saturday nights, which can be loud. He contends that the “wine and martini bar” aspect of the business, as well as the live Latin music that is offered on certain nights, stray from the original plans for the business. The Westhampton Beach Planning Board approved the operation of an 18-seat coffee shop and luncheonette that primarily serves food, according to Mr. Ramsay. His wife, Barbara, is a former member of the Planning Board.

“The cops have come and not found anything to report,” said L.J. Delman, the manager of the Sunset Café during last week’s meeting. “We close the windows and the doors.”

Westhampton Beach Building Inspector Paul Houlihan said he had visited the Café recently and did not observe any violations in regard to noise levels.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ramsay is alleging that the music emanating from the Café can be heard more than 50 feet away from the establishment, a violation of the village code. “You don’t know the code,” Mr. Ramsay told Ms. Delman. “Under the code, you’re wrong.”

Mayor Conrad Teller curbed discussion on the matter once Mr. Ramsay and Ms. Delman began arguing with one another.

Village Board member Hank Tucker explained that the board was going to be reviewing amplified music regulations in general over the next few months, possibly as early as its next work session scheduled for Wednesday, November 19.

“It’s very hard to control the amplification,” Mr. Tucker said on Monday. “You can’t just sit there in a busy village and hold a meter up and get a [decibel] reading from the music. It’s hard to measure how loud the music is, and we get complaints from residents and shoppers.”

On Friday, Mr. Teller added that the elimination of all amplified outdoor music could be a reality in the village next summer.

“The village will consider eliminating amplified outdoor music totally,” Mr. Teller said. “People like music, but we have people living on Main Street, and we start to have dueling bands.”

Likewise, Mr. Houlihan said the “board will look into banning amplified music. “That’s the secondary issue,” he continued. “That’s where all this is headed.”

Other Business

Also last week, Village Board members approved a special exception permit for a 39-unit condominium project being proposed by developer Robert Muchnick on 6.6 acres on the west side of Old Riverhead Road.

In April, Mr. Muchnick filed a $25 million civil rights lawsuit against numerous village officials, claiming that they unlawfully delayed his application by enacting a building moratorium.

Planning Board Chairman Ralph Neubauer explained that all Mr. Muchnick now needs before breaking ground on his project is to pay village fees and secure a building permit.

Though he earned board approval, Mr. Muchnick said this week that he still intends to advance his lawsuit.

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I own Shock Ice Cream in WHB we have had outdoor music at our shop for the past couple of years its something we offer usually on a Saturday night or a holiday weekend Our customers and Visitors to WHB really enjoy it. Some of the listeners are my customers and some are not, some people I speak to are aware W
By shock (70), whb on Nov 11, 08 8:25 AM
whb offers outdoor music so they come into town from Eastport, Riverhead and other surrounding areas to hear the music In this economic down turn we will all need to offer potential customers something more to bring them to town and free music is one of the reasons, along with our art shows, chamber events, outdoor music on the green on Thursday nights,and any other ideas we can think of, why not its free , and enjoyable to most, Please support your local Main Street. Shop Locally
By shock (70), whb on Nov 11, 08 8:30 AM
It seems to me that people who purchase and live on or near Main Street, a mostly commercial area, should expect music and noise--a town is not a church or synagogue. The town of WHB actually needs more "night life" and restaurants to bring in more people--who wants to go to a town filled only with ice cream parlors, real estate and candy shops? BORING. Hook up the sewer lines and give adults (not just children) a place to go in the evenings for fun, and main street WHB will thrive again.
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Nov 11, 08 9:32 AM
If anyone has any ideas like starting a petition or writing letters to the mayor in SUPPORT of keeping the music please count me in! It seems people will complain about ANYTHING! These young members of the band are not out there doing drugs or destroying your property or stealing from your homes, they are out there being creative, making the world a better place and using their energy for something that is positive. What is wrong with those of you that want them banned from the street??? Surely ...more
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 12, 08 7:48 AM
Between this and the complaint about silly string in the other forum, maybe we should just ban CHILDREN from Main Street altogether. I bet that would make a lot of people happy. Ban the children.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 12, 08 10:02 AM
Sam, You are right on! Be sure to send a copy of that petition to me. Anyone remember "Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang"?
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Nov 16, 08 12:41 PM
This OLD FOGIE enjoys the Westhampton Cultural Consortium's concerts on the Village Green on Thursdays and take my granddaughter to the great Kids on the Green performances on Tuesdays in the summer. They are great programs. We love walking up and down Main Street shopping, eating ice cream and listening to the many street performers along the way on hot summer evenings... the duo at the old Sextons, the bands at Simon's Bakery, Shock alley music, acoustic guitar at Margarita Grille, the church ...more
By WHB Oldie but Goodie (3), Westhampton on Nov 17, 08 11:11 AM
I have never ever found any of the musicians you mentioned disrespectful. Not their music, not their attire and not their demeanor. The time restrictions as you mentioned coincide with the patron traffic on the street. The dinner traffic starts about dinner time and the shopping traffic goes until 11pm or midnight.
That is when the people are out. Why put the bands out when there is no one there? And it is my opinion that more people than not enjoy the music otherwise why would these young people ...more
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 17, 08 1:01 PM
I just heard outdoor music was discussed at last nights whb village work session, lets hope that the outdoor music will continue, It is for the people who enjoy it and hopefully the village will just enforce the code we have .
It is a very simple code to enforce,It is a business district that operates with outdoor dining, late night shopping, a bustling performing arts center, and an increase in visitors to our downtown Main St to enjoy a walk after dinner, a stop into the bakery, bar or ...more
By shock (70), whb on Nov 20, 08 6:37 PM
Hey Elyse. Can I tell you something respectfully please? Im only mentioning it because I see your Internet Ad here about your ice cream place and it says "Wii Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band." Everytime I take my kids and my kids friends into your ice cream shop, your son is always hogging up the games.
Even when my kids have tried to play, your son rips it out of their hands. Im just saying..................
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 20, 08 6:48 PM
hey Sam who are you, its me Maxwell and I share my games with everyone including your kids thanks for noticing the ad we will be open for Thanksgiving come in for a free cup of Pumpkin Ice Cream
By shock (70), whb on Nov 20, 08 8:24 PM
Hey. Well although its not true that your son gives the patrons equal playing time, I will take you up on your cup of free ice cream! Thanks for the offer. And keep the bands outside your store!
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 21, 08 8:01 AM
Sorry I meant KEEP THE BANDS. Doesnt matter to me if they are inside or outside of the stores.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 21, 08 3:30 PM