Let’s talk about some issues!
There are many misconceptions surrounding some of the issues in this year’s village election. We would like to clear some of those misconceptions up in the next few weeks as we tackle some of these issues. Because we believe this is a pivotal election in our village’s history.
Our party, the Elms Party, is the only one that can say we are all lifelong, full time residents of this village, and we know very well the delicate balance between residential and commercial interests, because we’ve lived it all our lives.
This week we would like to address the beautiful inns that have been part of village life for so many years. All of our inns are what we call “pre-existing, non-conforming” uses in residential zones. This simply means that they were in existence before our zoning codes were written and are commercial uses in residential zones. As such, they need to be carefully regulated to protect the quality of life in the quiet neighborhoods that surround them. Over the years these inns have moved from being small B&Bs run by local families to establishments owned by corporations often having no local connection at all other than their business ties.
We don’t need to look far to see what can happen if these uses are allowed to expand unchecked. The residents of Montauk have been working with our Town Board for years to try to control the businesses in their neighborhoods that began as small, quiet restaurants but have in recent years become busy nightclubs. Because live music was permitted under town code, they have become busy concert venues bringing traffic, noise, and alcohol-fueled crime to their once peaceful streets. It is a cautionary tale that our village government must be cognizant of lest we allow the same thing to happen here.
We are not opposed to all change, even in the area of how our country inns are operated. But special events requiring tents, outdoor dining, and live music that can be heard throughout our local streets, must be closely regulated.
We believe that the best way to control what happens in our residential neighborhoods is to allow a certain number of special permitted events at our inns. In this way we can control the dates, hours, and frequency of those events. Special permits can be granted by the village for weddings and other outdoor events while making sure there are plans in place to control the issues surrounding them. This is the best way to protect the residents so they can enjoy the peace and quiet of their own backyards during the summer months.
In contrast our opponents, Jerry Larsen and Arthur (Tiger) Graham, support the ability for the Inns to have large gatherings with amplified music without any oversight that the Special Permit process provides. We don’t believe that their views are in line with our Village residents’ views. We believe that the inns should only be allowed to conduct business with proper restraints written into the code. The special permit process would give us the tool we need to control what can happen on properties that are pre-existing non-conforming. This is exactly what the zoning code is for.
We believe that our first responsibility is to our residents and will do our very best to protect them at all times, because we live here and we understand the need to protect our beautiful village. And that’s what we pledge to do.