Hawkins Inn looking to hold outdoor events, seeks ZBA ruling

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Jededian Hawkins Inn in Jamesport.

The Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport will be back before the Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 12.

Its owners want to reopen a previous hearing and are seeking an interpretation of whether the town code definition of “country inn” allows “incidental social uses such as weddings, graduations and anniversaries and that such social uses can occur outside the building,” according to the company’s code interpretation application.

If the ZBA interprets the code in the inn’s favor, then the owners can hold such outdoor events there.

Thursday’s ZBA hearing is scheduled to start at 7:20 p.m. at Town Hall.

The inn had almost identical applications before the ZBA in September 2008 and again in March 2010. Those earlier applications, however, asked for a variance in the event the ZBA determined that those uses weren’t permitted; this one does not. In July 2010, the ZBA ruled that the Jedediah Hawkins Inn could hold such events in an outdoor tent until at least Nov. 30, 2011.

Bill Welsh, who lives across the street from the inn, said no loud outdoor events have been held there in the past year or so, since Keith Luce took over as proprietor, but previously there had been noise problems at the inn.

“I will be there and some of the neighbors will be there, too,” Mr. Welsh said of the ZBA hearing.

This is the second application pertaining to the Hawkins property in recent months.

In December, the town Planning Board approved plans for a breezeway that connects the restaurant to a barn on the property. Under town code, the two buildings would be officially considered one structure because of the breezeway. This drew criticism from some neighbors and civics, who believed the breezeway was a way to get around zoning and expand the uses on the property.

Mr. Luce said in an interview at the time that the inn would like to use the barn for additional guest rooms to complement the six guest rooms in the restaurant building.

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