Go Fund Tuthill Road

‘Montauk’s oldest neighborhood’ seeks support
While neighbors of Duryea's Lobster worry that the business will negatively affect their quality of life, the owner says he has "protected the Duryea's legacy and history" and "reduced our environmental footprint." Jane Bimson

Residents of the Tuthill Road Association have launched a GoFundMe campaign that they say is necessary to protect the neighborhood’s character and quality of life from activities associated with Duryea’s Lobster Deck, the seafood complex purchased in 2014 by Marc Rowan.

“Montauk’s oldest neighborhood is up against a billionaire hedge funder who has sued the town multiple times to get his way,” the campaign’s page at GoFundMe.com says. “We urgently need your help to save this neighborhood, keep freshwater Tuthill Pond clean, and prevent Fort Pond Bay from becoming an oil-slick way-station filled with seaplanes and tender boats bringing passengers back and forth to the continuously expanding Duryea’s Lobster Deck, oyster bar, private dining areas, and restaurant.” 

Corporations associated with Mr. Rowan have sued the town seeking to compel it to issue a certificate of occupancy to legalize existing uses and structures and to change the zoning for a portion of the property from residential to waterfront business. Among other things, they assert that the town has no jurisdiction over a boat dock, underwater lands, former underwater lands that have been filled, and shoreline fortification structures. A settlement signed by Michael Sendlenski, the now former town attorney, was stayed last month in State Supreme Court in Riverhead after the town hired outside counsel to look into the matter.

“Our neighborhood, friends, and people who care about Montauk have banded together,” the GoFundMe page reads, “to combat a restaurant that is seemingly impervious to financial slaps on the wrist and which continues to modify and expand its indoor and outdoor seating areas, and do whatever it pleases, without the benefit of site plan review or any sort of environmental review, all of which flies in the face of a 1997 zoning board of appeals determination that found that no such lawful restaurant use exists on the property and that the business never provided fixed seating, either indoors or out, and has never provided table service by waiters or waitresses.” 

Mr. Rowan disagrees with the residents’ assertions. In a letter in today’s issue of The Star, he writes that he has “protected the Duryea legacy and history, repaired what needed to be repaired . . . reduced our environmental footprint, eliminated the use of harmful chemicals, and moved garbage indoors, along with a range of other measures designed to reduce our environmental footprint.” He also notes plans to upgrade a septic system to a state-of-the-art low-nitrogen system.

As of noon yesterday, the GoFundMe campaign had raised $400 toward its $50,000 goal.