Pity poor Montauk. First it comes under attack from hordes of people partying on weekends, then it becomes overrun with guests in illegal short-term rentals, and now, parts of the public’s property are being usurped by private businesses.
East Hampton Town officials will be certainly met with howls of outrage when, as we suspect, they take on restaurant owners and others who have in rapidly increasing numbers this summer been placing tables out on the sidewalk for their patrons. Any number of downtown eateries are getting in on the act, expanding their seating capacity to make the most of a short season. One can understand why they do so, but that does not make it right or fair to the taxpayers whose property they are using. Perhaps these businesses are taking a cue from Gurney’s Inn, also in Montauk, which has set out dozens of chairs and daybeds apparently in the traditional right of way over the beach. If those charged with regulating public properties here see no harm in these instances, they should at least charge fees for the privilege.
Then there are places, like the Memory Motel, which has in effect stolen public property by turning most of its off-street parking lot into an outdoor bar. As a result, more patrons of the popular drinking spot have to put their vehicles elsewhere, and this is hardly the worst of it. By all accounts, chaos rules there late at night as far too many revelers roll off into the darkness. This is similar to what happened at the Montauk Beach House, which added a club and live music venue without providing a single additional off-street parking space.
Now, though apparently within legal bounds, the mysterious owners of the former East Deck Motel have presented the town with plans to expand and become a members-only beach club at Ditch Plain. This, too, will have an impact on the surrounding area and undoubtedly add to the sense of a hamlet out of control, in which the love of money takes precedence.