Public hearing tonight on special events law

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said that ‘special events’ held every weekend at area farms and vineyards should not be classified as special events.

The public will have its chance to weigh in on Southold Town’s long-awaited special events permit law tonight.

The proposed laws come in response to residents’ complaints about large-scale events — most notably at Vineyard 48 in Cutchogue — and concern about the town’s options in addressing code violations.

The law would require a permit for any gathering that exceeds a building’s occupancy or parking capacity, or is prohibited by zoning. A permit would also be required for an event that involved the closing of public streets, the use of amplified sound, the sale of food or merchandise and the placement of portable toilets.

In the past, critics have said the town has failed to clearly define what a special event is, forcing organizers of routine events to undergo burdensome permit procedures. Opponents also argue that limiting the events would decrease agritourism in the area. The Long Island Farm Bureau and Long Island Wine Council are among the groups that have expressed concern about the code changes.

The public hearing is tonight at 4:30 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

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