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Sep 2, 2009 3:58 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Outdoor show raises ire of Westhampton Beach Village Board

Sep 2, 2009 3:58 PM

Westhampton Beach Village will not be able to serve Simon’s Beach Bakery with a violation for breaching its outdoor music permit when it hosted a live musician outside the Main Street shop last month, an event that attracted between 200 and 400 people.

Village officials announced during their monthly work session on August 26 that in order to issue a violation, there needs to be a complaint registered and a police report must be filled out. That file would then go to the building department, which is responsible for issuing fines whenever a business violates the conditions of its music permit, said Paul Houlihan, the village’s building and zoning administrator.

Because a police report was never filed on August 1, when Simon’s Beach Bakery hosted a live outdoor show, the village cannot issue a violation, he explained. The bakery has a permit to host outdoor shows.

Between 200 and 400 people showed up over the course of the evening on August 1 to listen to the performer, whose visit had been previously advertised on the Hampton Synagogue’s website, said Simon Jorna, the owner of the bakery. Some people showed up with beach chairs and, according to a few observers, several attendees blocked the sidewalk outside the bakery, a violation of the village’s outdoor music law.

“The issue is, if it reached the point where it was a public safety issue,” Mr. Houlihan said. “But the sergeant [on duty] had no problem with it.”

The police officers who were monitoring the event that night said the crowd was a little larger than normal, but the noise level was kept in check, and concert attendees did not block pedestrian and vehicular traffic, said Westhampton Beach Village Police Chief Raymond Dean. “They didn’t see anything out of the norm,” he said.

Village Board Member Joan Levan, who stopped by the bakery on the night of the performance, said some people came with beach chairs and blocked the sidewalk. She said it seemed more like a concert than a show. “Outdoor music is one thing, but a concert is another story,” she said.

Fellow board member Toni-Jo Birk said she also stopped by the bakery the same night, though at a different time, and observed the same issues.

Mr. Jorna said he hosts musicians every Friday and Saturday night during the summer. He added that about six people showed up with chairs for the August 1 show and that he asked them to move, he said.

“I told them not to put their chairs in the street,” Mr. Jorna said.

To obtain an outdoor music permit, a business must first fill out a special exemption application, which then goes before the Westhampton Beach Planning Board for review. Then, a public hearing is scheduled. The Village Board then either approves or denies a permit, explained Kathy McGinnis, the village clerk and treasurer.

After the initial permit is secured, a business can then apply annually to renew it, which does not require an additional public hearing.

According to the village code, a violation can be issued if the music being performed is too loud or if the sidewalk is blocked by attendees. Though it cannot issue a monetary fine, the village can revoke an outdoor music permit if a business receives two written violations.

Fewer than a dozen village businesses have permits that allow live outdoor performers.

Cablevision Contract

Village Board members last week asked a representative of Cablevision, which in June stopped airing their monthly meetings on Sea-TV, if it would be possible to secure a certain time slot for the meetings once a new franchise agreement is reached with the cable company.

Westhampton Beach’s monthly board meetings stopped being aired without notice on Sea-TV, or channel 22, after Southampton Town requested that the village pay $9,000 a year to help cover the administrative fees needed to operate the channel. The village declined to pay the bill.

As part of its agreement, Cablevision provided Southampton Town a public access channel that was supposed to air village meetings. Though they cannot charge programming fees, town officials can collect administrative fees, said Joan Gilroy, director of government affairs for Cablevision.

“It seems like a lot of money to just insert a tape,” she said of the town’s request that Westhampton Beach pay an annual $9,000 fee.

Since that time, the village has been trying to revise its franchise agreement with Cablevision, which already expired, and secure another time slot to air the village’s board meetings. According to their current contract, Cablevision has an obligation to provide the village with a public access television station.

Board members will hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed Cablevision franchise agreement during their next meeting on Thursday, September 3.

In other news, board members learned that the Westhampton Beach School District will not pay for an engineering study that would investigate the feasibility of re-configuring the circular driveway in front of the district’s middle school on Mill Road, according to Chief Dean.

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How could the Village complain about a couple hundred extra people spending money in their village that otherwise wouldn't be there? Snooty booty!
By mjb (14), This Island on Sep 1, 09 1:03 PM
Um, because it's not about the $$$ but the safety issue and ease of passage on the public thoroughfare?

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 2, 09 1:51 PM
And if they let ONE person get away with it.....there will be more.......
By MaryMac (43), Riverhead on Sep 3, 09 12:42 PM
Relax. It's a community that is open for 90 days. Drive Slower. Enjoy the music and let the businesses make a buck. I was there and it was fun. The fact that no one complained speaks volumes....
By The Real World (368), southampton on Sep 4, 09 8:05 AM
5 members liked this comment
I cant believe people are still complaining about this. Heres an idea, if people are blocking your way on the sidewalk .... GO AROUND. If you dont like Simon's bands then dont shop in his bakery. If you dont like the music...... GO FURTHER DOWN THE STREET. If you are driving a car..... OBEY THE PEDESTRIAN CROSSWALKS as you would anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For Gods sake this is no "safety issue" here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its just JEALOUS JEALOUS store owners and OLD FARTY HAMPTONITES DOING THEIR ...more
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 4, 09 8:05 AM
3 members liked this comment
To Mr. Real World: WELL SAID!!
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 4, 09 8:08 AM
The only person making money is Simon ! As a business owner I find that while having music on Main St. is a lovely idea, it does NOT bring additional business to the stores on Main Street. It can be very loud, and the crowd does carry over to the sidewalk, making it nearly impossible to pass through. The crowd comes to hear the music, not shop. Don't we already have music every thursday night on the village green? Where you are welcome to bring a chair and enjoy the music.
By merchant on main (3), westhampton on Sep 7, 09 11:50 AM
I witnessed people walking the streets of Westhampton, stopping for ice cream, walking in and out of shops and going to restaurants. The music created an atmosphere that can do nothing but help businesses.. As tumbleweed Tuesday is here, think about that on a mid December Saturday night when shops are closed and the tax bills come....
By The Real World (368), southampton on Sep 8, 09 3:34 PM