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Greenport shares ‘concerns’ over Rhumb Line with State Liquor Authority

Rhumb Line Greenport

Normally, the Greenport Village Board doesn’t weigh in when restaurants apply to the New York State Liquor Authority and ask to be allowed to serve alcohol.

But in the case of the Rhumb Line, the Front Street restaurant and bar which voluntarily closed last month after the SLA took steps to revoke its liquor license, the Village Board is making an exception.

At its meeting Thursday night, the board unanimously voted to send a letter to the SLA detailing “concerns” the board has over the Rhumb Line’s application to renew its license this spring.

Those concerns? The restaurant had apparently operated an outside bar without a certificate of occupancy, which the village building department admittedly “dropped the ball” in enforcing, according to Village Mayor George Hubbard.

Last month, the SLA took action against the restaurant after the Southold Town Police Department expressed its own concerns about the restaurant. Police officials said the bar had “disorderly premises” and was a “focal point for police attention,” according to violations filed against the Rhumb Line.

Last July, a woman was struck over the head with a beer bottle at the restaurant, marking the latest incident at the bar which included the slashing of a patron and a fight in the bathroom that spilled onto the street, according to police reports.

However, Mr. Hubbard said the village wasn’t weighing in on those alleged violations at the restaurant in its letter. Instead, the board members were correcting a part of the application in which the restaurant’s management claims to have access to an outside patio.

According to village administrator Paul Pallas, the village building department had issued a temporary six-month certificate of occupancy for the outside bar in May 2014. But the village didn’t follow up with the restaurant after the certificate expired in November 2014 and the Rhumb Line operated the bar without authorization since then.

“We dropped the ball on that,” Mr. Hubbard said at Thursday’s meeting. He later added the certificate hadn’t been flagged as being temporary by the building department and “it just kind of fell through the cracks.”

Mr. Hubbard said he had no idea the restaurant’s outside bar wasn’t allowed, and even admitted he and others on the Greenport Fire Department’s Board of Wardens met at the outside bar while it was operating illegally.

“[The oversight] was never something intentional,” he said. The Village Board’s letter will seek to correct the Rhumb Line’s application and make it clear to SLA that the restaurant no longer has the authority to operate the outside bar.

At Thursday’s meeting, Michael Solomon, an attorney representing the landlords of The Rhumb Line’s property, said his clients had “only recently become aware of the problems.”

“We are in support of resolving any issues,” Mr. Solomon said, adding the landlords are willing to cooperate with the village attorney and local justice court to address the violations.

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Correction: Due to a typo, the original version of this story incorrectly stated the meeting occurred Tuesday evening. The meeting was held Thursday night.