11/17/14 4:30pm
11/17/2014 4:30 PM
The former Galley Ho restaurant in New Suffolk. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The former Galley Ho restaurant in New Suffolk. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Update: The Southold Town Planning Board unanimously granted site plan approvals for the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund and the Blue Inn at a special meeting Monday.

Both applications had been met with resistance from residents within their respective communities. (more…)

07/08/14 5:00pm
07/08/2014 5:00 PM
CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | A proposal to allow outside guests to eat at the Blue Inn in East Marion has local community association members concerned.

A proposal to allow outside guests to eat at the Blue Inn in East Marion has local community association members concerned. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

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.

(more…)

06/03/14 12:00pm
06/03/2014 12:00 PM
The restaurant at the Blue Inn is currently only open to guests. The owner of the East Marion inn wants to change that. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

The restaurant at the Blue Inn is currently only open to guests. The owner of the East Marion inn wants to change that. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Does the East Marion community want to eat at the Blue Inn? That’s a question that came up during a public hearing before the Southold Town Planning Board Monday night.  (more…)

05/30/14 10:00am
05/30/2014 10:00 AM
The former Galley Ho across the street from Legends and Summer Girl boutique on First Street’s New Suffolk Waterfront Fund land. Plans to move and expand the restaurant have run into resistance from nearby business owners and residents. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The former Galley Ho across the street from Legends and Summer Girl boutique on First Street’s New Suffolk Waterfront Fund land. Plans to move and expand the restaurant have run into resistance from nearby business owners and residents. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Southold Town Planning Board members are holding several high profile public hearings on Monday evening for restaurants proposed across Southold Town. (more…)

11/25/13 12:00pm
11/25/2013 12:00 PM
CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | A proposal to allow outside guests to eat at the Blue Inn in East Marion has local community association members concerned.

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | A proposal to allow outside guests to eat at the Blue Inn in East Marion has local community association members concerned.

Starting in June, the restaurant at the Blue Inn in East Marion will be able to serve food to outside guests.

That’s because the Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals last week granted a special exception for the restaurant to expand its food service. Previously, the Blue Inn was permitted to serve food and drinks only to guests at the year-round motel.

The exemption, which initially did not sit well with nearby residents, was approved with more than a dozen operating conditions, including:

• The restaurant can only open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 1 through Labor Day.

• No outdoor music can be played after 9 p.m. and the bar needs to close at 11 p.m.

• Small events are also permitted until 9 p.m.

• The restaurant is subject to a 48-person occupancy limit.

• A parking attendant must be hired to manage traffic.

• The restaurant cannot be advertised.

If current owner Sam Glass were to sell the motel, a future owner would have to refi le for a special exception to open the restaurant to the public, according to the ZBA.

The decision comes after three months of public hearings on the proposal. In its decision, the ZBA stated “the safety, health, welfare, comfort, convenience or order of the town will not be adversely affected by the proposed use and its location. The terms agreed to by the applicant and the Town of Southold are designed to protect and promote the peaceful coexistence of the motel and the residential properties in the neighborhood.”

The list of conditions comes in response to concerns from members of the East Marion Community Association.

Neighbors said the new plan is reminiscent of concerns they had about the motel under its previous ownership, when the restaurant was also open to the public. In a letter sent to the ZBA in mid-September, neighbors Joseph Zizzo and Maria Capotorto said the motel functioned like an “illegally constructed outdoor nightclub” under the previous owner, who sold the motel to Mr. Glass more than two years ago.

Activities at the motel inspired the East Marion Community Association to lead the push to pass Southold Town’s first noise ordinance nearly three years ago.

In a statement Monday, the association said it’s pleased with the ZBA’s decision.

“The East Marion Community Association applauds the Southold Town ZBA for its diligence in embracing the concerns expressed in our letter to them regarding The Blue Inn and future business development in East Marion,” said EMCA board member Jackie McKee. “In granting The Blue Inn’s request for special exemption, the board has incorporated conditions for compliance into the permit which address the concerns of our community while offering more latitude to the owner for increasing revenue. We trust that, in the spirit of community, Mr. Glass will honor those conditions.”

Mr. Glass said opening the restaurant to the public is necessary to sustain the business and he’s pleased with the board’s decision.

“I am grateful [the ZBA] took the time to read our application and the testimonials,” he said. “I was quite happy to hear about it because we need to have a restaurant. We want the neighbors and the community to be able to attend and to be happy with it.”

Mr. Glass said he is currently in the process of finding a part-time chef and designing an affordable menu.

[email protected]

10/22/13 9:27am
10/22/2013 9:27 AM

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | For a second time, Bruce Garritano is asking the board to rent space at Mitchell Park Marina to house a tour boat operation.

Former realtor, restaurateur, motel operator and electric scooter rental storeowner Bruce Garritano is once again petitioning the Village Board for permission to dock a tour and party boat in Mitchell Park Marina.

During its work session Monday, Mr. Garritano asked members to rent him and his group dock space for what he described as a “tour boat” that would run excursions on which passengers could purchase drinks and hors d’oeuvres and light snacks.

The 110-foot, 149-passenger boat would be available for three-hour tours on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the summer months, Mr. Garritano said.

He also expressed interest in hosting private parties such as weddings and other receptions, as well as public events, including “80s themed” parties and Sunday brunches.

The pitch was similar to an unsuccessful proposal he made in January 2012.

At the time, Mr. Garritano said he was prepared to pay the village $10,000 for seasonal dock space. On Monday, he requested the board rent him space on the west end of Mitchell Park Marina at the same price point.

However, with more than $400,000 worth of upgrades recently completed at the marina, Deputy Mayor George Hubbard said the rental cost would be closer to $55,000.

“The marina has changed since then, our clientele has changed,” Mr. Hubbard said.

That change stems from the recently completed electrical upgrade at Mitchell Park Marina — with a goal of luring mega yachts to Greenport Harbor.

In August, usage of the marina was up 35 percent compared with last year, which village administrator David Abatelli has said brought in about $180,000 in additional revenue for the village in just one month.

While upset by the figure, Mr. Garritano said it doesn’t deter his plan.

“I understand that things have changed and an increase is fine, but from $10,000 to $55,000 is a huge difference,” he said. “But we are willing to move forward.”

When asked if he’d explored any other options to moor the boat, Mr. Garritano said he has his heart set on Mitchell Park Marina.

“We want to be a staple in the Village,” he said.

But similar proposals have run aground in Greenport.

In 2011, entrepreneur Ed Graham proposed operating a boat, on which drinks, hors d’oeuvres and light snacks would be served, for daylight cruises between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., sunset cruises between 5 and 9 p.m. and moonlight cruises from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. He said he was prepared to pay the village $10,000 for dock space, as well as a small fee for each passenger. The plan did not fly with officials in Greenport or in Riverhead, where Mr. Graham initially attempted to secure dock space, according to a previous Suffolk Times article.

Muddying the waters further is Mr. Garritano’s track record as a business owner in Southold Town.

Mr. Garritano is the former owner of the Blue Inn in East Marion. Under his ownership, neighbors closest to the motel likened it and it’s public restaurant to an “illegally constructed outdoor nightclub.”

They recalled drunken guests arguing and wandering into neighboring yards.

Activities at the motel inspired the East Marion Community Association to lead the push to pass Southold Town’s first noise ordinance nearly three years ago.

He later sold the property and opened a short -lived bicycle and electric scooter rental operation in the Village.

“I have a lot of concerns,” Mr. Hubbard said after the meeting. “I don’t want to knock anyone down for trying to do something in the village and opening a business that can make money. In theory [the tour boat is] a good idea. A lot of my concern was about rent, it’s a fifth of what we could make if someone else was in there.”

Mr. Hubbard said board members needed to discuss the idea further before taking any action.

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