Bar and Shop Get a Yes

Mixed Z.B.A. victory for Montauk’s Beach House

    Opening day for the Beach House, a luxury hotel in downtown Montauk, may be delayed by several days, if not longer, after the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals ruled by a vote of 4 to 1 Tuesday night that its bar and gift shop will have to undergo a site plan review in front of the town’s planning board.
    Don Cirillo cast the lone dissenting vote, saying that whether a site plan was required should be the town’s senior building inspector’s call.
    At the same time, the zoning board voted 5 to 0 that the bar and gift shop were accepted secondary uses for a hotel, and, as such, would be permitted to operate once site plan approval is obtained from the planning board.
    According to the hotel’s online reservation system, the Beach House is scheduled to open the first week in May. It is accepting reservations for that week, with a room for two starting at $299 a night. But the hotel, which debuted last year and ran with a temporary certificate of occupancy, would need a permanent certificate of occupancy to reopen, something it may not get from Tom Preiato, the town’s senior building inspector, without first undergoing the required site plan review.
    The Beach House is now undergoing a site plan review for a new barbecue pit and trellis, for which a hearing date was to be scheduled at last night’s East Hampton Town Planning Board meeting, which took place after press time. Reed Jones, the planning board’s chairman, said yesterday that March 20 was going to be the date for that hearing.
    Alex Walter, the zoning board’s chairman, said on Tuesday that, during the hearing on the matter, held Feb. 5, the resort’s attorney, Andy Hammer of Biondo and Hammer, seemed to veto the idea of combining a site plan review for the bar and gift shop with the one for the barbecue pit that is now before the planning board. The Beach House’s owners, Chris Jones and Larry Siedlick, will apparently have to start anew.
    Mr. Hammer had just learned of the decision when he was reached yesterday. Without having read its actual wording, Mr. Hammer declined to comment, other than to say, “We’ll have to look it over, meet with the building inspector, and take it from there.”
    Last year, mindful of the financial importance of opening in time for the summer season, the Beach House went through the same site plan process, under similar time constraints, for a new basement and a storage room, obtaining approval from the planning board in time for summer. It appears that the owners will have to catch a similar wave this year if they are to meet their May opening date.
    Mr. Jones of the planning board said yesterday that he thought it was very possible for a new site plan review to be done by May, if presented to the board in a timely fashion, though he added, “This particular applicant always generates a lot of interest.”