Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story implied that the owner of the Blue Inn was forbidden to speak at the public hearing. Had he been present, the owner would have been allowed to speak — as those opposed to the Blue Inn were given the same opportunity, planning officials later said. The Planning Board chairman’s instructions on who should speak were a suggestion, not an order.
Monday night’s public hearing on the Blue Inn restaurant in East Marion was supposed to allow residents who didn’t get to speak at last month’s hearing a chance to have their voices heard.
Instead, the same concerns about the proposed expansion of the eatery — voiced by many of the same residents — resurfaced.
“The hamlet of East Marion will be irrevocably changed should this restaurant be allowed to be resuscitated,” warned East Marion resident Joseph Zizzo, who also spoke at the June hearing. “I like to go out and have a drink as much as anyone else, but this particular place where [owner Sam Glass] has it, is just the wrong place for that.”
Neighbors of the restaurant again complained of already increased traffic on their quiet streets. The plan to open the restaurant to outside patrons not staying at the hotel would only add to the traffic, many said.
“Someone’s going to get hurt,” said Barb Pfanz, who lives opposite the Blue Inn. “I don’t want to be the one making the 911 call, and it’s bound to happen.”
Ann Murray, the vice president of the East Marion Community Association, said East Marion has seen “explosive growth” in traffic in the summer. She displayed photos taken during the Lavendar By the Bay showing cars parked illegally on residential streets and in front of fire hydrants.
“I hate to think what would have happened if we had an emergency, because no trucks would have been able to get through,” Ms. Murray said. She argued the same thing would happen if the Blue Inn got its approval.
Community Association president Robin Imandt accused Mr. Glass of planning to break rules over outdoor noise and usage if the expansion is allowed.
“Why should we have to get aggravated, interrupt meals [and] guests and call police and do all this?” she asked the board. “I don’t think it’s right … Unfettered growth is just wrong for our community.”
The Planning Board members closed the public hearing, saying they would take the resident’s concerns “into consideration.”
“We know that it is a very sensitive area,” said board chairman Donald Wilcenski.