Business

Southold Town denies event applications for Mattituck restaurant

The Southold Town Board last week rejected two event applications for a Mattituck restaurant following concerns from town officials over a previous party held at the Main Road business.

Town attorney Bill Duffy said a June 12 celebration of Mattitaco’s third anniversary went “well beyond what they applied for,” with parking, vendors and live music beyond the scope of the original application. The event, he said, demonstrated “such a blatant disregard” for regulations that the Town Board felt it necessary to revoke and reject future event applications for the taqueria. 

At its meeting last Tuesday night, the Southold Town Board revoked a previously approved application for a Sept. 7 event at the restaurant and denied a similar application for Aug. 28. 

The resolution to revoke the approval for September stated that Mattitaco “failed to comply with all conditions on the application and permit for the June 12 event.” 

Reached by telephone last week, Mattitaco owner Justin Schwartz called the town’s actions, which he was not previously aware of, “disappointing.” 

“We struggled like heck for a year and a half,” he said, adding that events have been helpful to post-pandemic recovery. He also questioned the actions of code enforcement officers during the anniversary party, saying he believed photographs they took were a “huge invasion of privacy,” especially considering children were present. 

Among the conditions in a resolution to approve the June event was that all parking was to be contained on site. Mr. Schwartz said he had indicated the lot would be closed in his original application.

Southold police also responded to a complaint about loud music coming from Mattitaco’s address a little after 11 p.m. on June 12, but found the event had ended before officers arrived, according to a police incident report. Mr. Schwartz said the event ended at 10 p.m.

In a letter accompanying his application for the June 12 event, Mr. Schwartz said he needed approvals so he could operate a food truck to account for an increase in customers on the busy anniversary with pandemic-related regulations in place at the time, “not because I’m having a party, live or amplified music or operating late into the night.” He said this week that he hadn’t anticipated “things opening up” this summer when he initially filed for the event.

Mr. Schwartz said this week that he emailed government liaison officer Denis Noncarrow with an amendment to the application two weeks before the June event, but Mr. Noncarrow said he does not handle such requests and directed questions to the town attorney’s office. Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell also referred a reporter’s questions to the town attorney.

The town’s rejection and revocation of the August and September events are pursuant to Section 205-6 of town code, which allows applicants to file an appeal with the town clerk within 10 days of a permit denial. Councilwoman Sarah Nappa cast the lone vote against revocation, but she voted along with her fellow board members to reject the August event. The September date had been approved at the same time as the June anniversary party.