Permission denied for outdoor movies at Sound View in Greenport

The Southold Town Board rejected an application for two drive-in movies at Sound View last Tuesday, citing safety concerns. 

Erik Warner, the owner of the waterfront hotel along Route 48 in Greenport, applied Dec. 14 for special events permits for two “Zoom Zoom Drive-in Movies” to be held Dec. 17, 2021 and Feb. 12, 2022, in the parking lot across from the restaurant and hotel. Northforker has reported that the Dec. 17 event, a showing of “Die Hard,” would kick off a monthly series with movies selected through April and a concession stand that would offer beverages, snacks and small bites from the Halyard restaurant. 

Mr. Warner said the Dec. 17 event did not occur and he plans to file for an appeal.

“The town threatened us with huge fines so we did not host the event,” he said via email. “We did think to try and host indoors but we did not. We lost money on the evening and had a lot of community disappointment.”

The Special Events Committee recommended denial of the permit and the Town Board determined, according to the resolution, that “the event will have a negative impact on the safe and orderly movement of traffic within and contiguous to the event as well as fire and police protection and ambulance service to the areas contiguous to the event and to the town in general.”

Supervisor Scott Russell said the town has been hearing “a lot of concerns” about safety in the area. 

“The Transportation Commission has gone out and looked at it. There’s some design issues, some visibility issues. Quite honestly, there’s a lot there. Suffolk County did come out to look at it, I think there was some agreement, some consensus that something needed to be done,” he said. “To have the special events across the street and to put people in harm’s way like that, I don’t think the town was in a position to endorse that. We’d be endorsing an event that could theoretically put people in harm’s way because they’d have to cross that Route 48 to get to the [bathroom] facilities, which were going to be … in a building to the west of the restaurant.”

Mr. Warner, reached via email, said in a statement that the drive-in movie event is the “latest extension of our Kulture Collective platform” — a cultural initiative that has hosted events at the hotel — “to give our community an engaging winter activity in a safe environment.” All proceeds from ticket sales would support the Center for Advocacy, Support and Transformation, a nonprofit that serves low-income individuals and families on the North Fork, he said.

“The Zoom Zoom offers a unique experience to build meaningful moments all while giving back to the local community,” Mr. Warner said. “The Zoom Zoom is held on our 2-acre property adjacent to the parking lot which accommodates up to 50 cars, similar to the other outdoor movies shown on the North Fork. This allows our guests to enjoy timeless films from the comfort of their private vehicles, separate yet together.

Clarification: When initially asked by The Suffolk Times, Mr. Warner said via email that Sound View hosted the Dec. 17 event, which was denied by the Town Board. He clarified after publication that he meant to say the event did not happen.