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Town denies North Fork Brewing Company’s appeal to host movie night

Peter Barraud, co-owner of North Fork Brewing Company, was again denied a special event permit to hold a movie night at his hops farm in Peconic.

Mr. Barraud came before the Southold Town Board Tuesday evening to appeal the denial given to him by the Zoning Board of Appeals chairperson earlier last month, but town board members believed there was no connection between the movie night and the hops Mr. Barraud grows.

“The whole purpose to allow special events in an agriculture zone was to promote and market the sale of the products that are grown there,” Supervisor Scott Russell said. “You’re not meeting that burden. There’s no nexus between the agricultural production and the special event itself.”

Mr. Barraud said he planned on screening “Home Alone” and “Jumanji” on two separate dates this summer. At these events families could bring their own food to enjoy and beer from Moustache Brewing Company would be sold onsite, since the distillery uses hops from North Fork Brewing Company in its products.

Additionally, he said pickled hops could be sold and information on harvesting hops and beer making would be on Moustache Brewery’s vending table.

“We scheduled both evenings to be when the hops are actually still on the coir and actually at their greatest height,” Mr. Barraud said. “The main reason is so [attendees] can see them after they’re ready to be harvested.”

The lack of a direct nexus, since beer sold is not produced on the site, was one of two reasons the ZBA denied Mr. Barraud’s application, the board explained in a decision dated July 7. The other reason was that he failed to submit the application 60 days prior to the event.

Mr. Barraud said he was coming before the town board to understand the ZBA’s reasoning and rules. He said he wasn’t aware that the 60-day limit was a reason to be denied since an applicant has the option to pay an additional $250, on top of the initial $150 application fee, in cases where the application is submitted under the 60 days limit.

Mr. Barraud said “we wouldn’t have wasted the $150 initial fee if we knew” about the time frame rule. Russell said that was a fair point and something the board would look into.

Mr. Barraud also questioned how wineries holding weddings on their property are different from him hosting a movie night. Mr. Russell explained the wineries are selling their wine, which they produce on site, during the events rather than selling someone else’s product that contains some of what they grow.

“It’s been an ongoing discussion because people are stretching special events code pretty far,” Mr. Russell said. “We’ve actually gone back and denied people until they and come back and show us that they’re making their guests buy the stuff — whether it’s Christmas trees or flowers — we’re making them do that because that’s what the original intent was.”

Photo Caption: Peter Barraud, co-owner of North Fork Brewing Company, speaking at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

Clarification: The special event permit was denied by the Zoning Board of Appeals chairperson, not the full board. Only the ZBA chairperson handles special event applications.

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