Urination Sparks a Debate

Weekends are drawing huge crowds
Ruschmeyer’s Inn on Second House Road.
Weekends are drawing huge crowds to Ruschmeyer’s Inn on Second House Road. Some guests have reportedly been urinating on neighbors’ lawns. Janis Hewitt

    “Now I’m having a urination problem. I have to call the police while it’s fresh to show them. It’s so intrusive; I feel so dirty,” Kimberly Esperian told the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday, speaking of the crowds descending on Ruschmeyer’s restaurant on Second House Road that are apparently urinating on private property.
    Ms. Esperian and other members of the committee wondered if portable toilets could be put on the grounds of the popular nightspot, which is owned by the same company, King and Grove, that recently was involved with the Surf Lodge, a place riddled with town code violations in the few years that it has operated on Edgemere Road.
    Grace McGovern Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Suffolk County Health Department, said on Tuesday that restaurants receive permits according to capacity, and that Ruschmeyer’s has a maximum occupancy of 199 patrons. Portable toilets, she said, would not be allowed on the grounds.
    The Health Department conducts random visits, but would also act on a complaint, Ms. Kelly said. “We would cite them if there were more than 199 people on the grounds.”
    Charlene Whitney of Ruschmeyer’s said a caretaker checks the grounds and nearby lawns each morning. “We are trying our best each day to clean up from the night before‚” she said.
    At the committee meeting, two resolutions were approved that East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione said he would take back to the town board for discussion. The first was regarding Ms. Esperian’s complaint about the restaurant’s patrons urinating in her yard and on her back steps.
    Committee members said personnel at the town’s code Ordinance Enforcement Department have told the town board that the department is short-staffed and needs more help to monitor code violations. Committee members said it was hard for those officers to do their jobs and wanted clarification about who should be called to complain about commercial overcrowding, public urination, and parking problems — the police or code enforcers.
    Some members thought that mass-gathering permits could be used to control crowding at certain establishments but were told that those permits are not required at commercial establishments unless the activity is distinct from the general purpose of the business — putting up a tent for an event, for example. A large teepee is often part of Ruschmeyer’s promotional images and online ads, which describe the restaurant as a “summer camp for adults.”
    A resolution was approved to “respectfully request that the town board carefully consider the concerns of the code enforcement office and to support their efforts with additional staff as we approach the busy summer season.”
    Moving on, Bill Akin, a former president of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, visited the meeting to ask that Fort Pond House be reopened. He said the town’s finances seem to be in good standing and that now would be a good time to drop the litigation that was initiated when the town decided to sell the property. Residents filed suit against the town for putting the property on the market, and the town then countersued to get the litigation dropped.
    “It has proven in the past to be a valuable tool for the students of the Montauk School, as well as for such groups as the Boy Scouts,” the resolution, which was unanimously approved, said.