Willie Nelson is coming to Montauk’s Surf Lodge for a concert on Sunday and a representative of the popular night spot tried to assure members of the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday night that everything would be under control. The crowds that the country-western star is expected to attract will be monitored by the East Hampton Town Police Department and fire marshal’s office, he said, who will be standing by on land and on boats in nearby Fort Pond.
The news came late in the meeting and went on for almost two hours as committee members complained about some of the hamlet’s newest gathering places.
“There isn’t one person who goes to a Willie Nelson concert that doesn’t try to get a hit of his joint,” said Anne Maegli, who often complains about noise on Second House Road in the vicinity of Ruschmeyer’s and Solé East. “A lot of this stuff just gets swept away,” she told the committee. John Jilnicki, the East Town attorney, attended the meeting but was mostly silent.
“People are going to do what they want because there are not enough code enforcement officers,” Linda Barnds, a committee member, said. Another member noted that some of the newer places were touting themselves through social media as family resorts but are actually killing Montauk’s family atmosphere.
Chris Jones, an owner of the Montauk Beach House, which got going last summer at the site of the former the Ronjo Motel in downtown Montauk, who was at the meeting, said the new places should not all be lumped together. The Beach House, he said, tries to abide by town law. “This is a great opportunity to work with the community. But there’s a great danger of categorizing that runs the risk of destroying all of it,” he said. Mr. Jones said that guests are counted each night and when the maximum number is met, people are turned away.
Chris Pfund, a sound engineer who works with several clubs, said he has lived in Montauk his whole life. He agrees that some issues need to be reined in but not shut down. “We cannot go back to 20 years ago. That economy doesn’t exist anymore,” he said.