It is a good question why the operators of so many resort properties and a restaurant or two do not believe local laws apply to them. It also is a good question why they become indignant when the errors of their ways are pointed out. It is almost as if they had been somehow told that overworked officials would look the other way. Or they learned from past experience to build it first and ask permission later, which is something of a cottage industry for lawyers and consults here these days.
Marram Montauk, which had been the Atlantic Terrace, a longtime Montauk beach hotel, now sports a slick, new makeover to some extent completed without the necessary permission. In mid-July East Hampton Town authorities sought a court order to shut down several outdoor bars and an unlicensed cooking area in a parking lot there and cited the owners for failing to get site-plan approval. Suffolk Health Department officials noticed the problems at the end of July.
Issues with Marram Montauk were hardly a secret; people living in its largely residential neighborhood certainly noticed. So, too, did surfers and sunbathers who were surprised to see Marram’s attempt to cordon off a portion of a popular public beach by setting up umbrellas and beach seating at the crack of dawn. They noticed.
Now, near the end of the season, there is a bigger question to be answered: Can the town explain how it let things get as far as they did?