Owners of the former Atlantic Terrace, a 96-room oceanfront resort situated in a residential neighborhood in Montauk, applied in early March for a liquor license from the State Liquor Authority, a move that quickly drew opposition from East Hampton Town government.
It may seem a pointless exercise — the looming tourist season perhaps to be remembered as the summer that wasn’t — but the plan for a restaurant and bar, with the intent to host special events featuring live and recorded music as well as dancing, presents the very scenario neighbors have warned of since Bridgeton Holdings, a corporation with a nationwide portfolio of office, retail, hospitality, and residential properties, bought the resort in 2018.
The Montauk Atlantic Terrace Hotel Operating Group and Bridgeton Hotel Management, doing business as Marram — “a barefoot luxury boutique resort” according to its website — and Mostrador Marram, “the hotel’s on-site café,” provided the town with the required 30-day advance notice of the S.L.A. application. The notice states that “there may be a D.J. or patron dancing only during occasional specific private or special events (e.g., a wedding)” for which the town would have to grant a permit. “Live music will be limited to lunch/dinner music” except for private or special events.
In a March 17 letter, NancyLynn Thiele, an assistant town attorney, told the S.L.A. that “although there is a hotel, there is no restaurant for use by the guests. The only food service is a ‘snack bar for retail use only.’ “
Ms. Thiele suggested that the applicant might ask the state to interpret a 1968 zoning board of appeals determination “to indicate that they have approval for bar use, but,” she stressed, “that variance was for a physical structure — a counter across which alcoholic drinks or refreshments can be served.” The structure has long existed, “but it has not been approved for the service of food or alcohol for decades,” and, she noted, the property’s zoning changed from commercial to residential subsequent to the 1968 determination. It appears to be an abandoned pre-existing use, she wrote.
The town board enacted new parking requirements for motels and resorts in Montauk’s densely built downtown in November 2018, over the strenuous objection of owners and managers of those establishments. The code now states that a resort must meet current parking requirements for its principal use — pre-existing conforming spaces were exempted — and that adding a restaurant necessitates an additional 50 percent of the parking otherwise required.
Atit Jariwala, the chief executive officer of Bridgeton Holdings, would not comment when asked in 2018 if the resort’s new owners would seek a liquor license. “Our objective is to run it the way it’s been run,” he told The Star. “It’s been a great part of the community.”
“We’re not party people,” Mr. Jariwala said at the time. “We’re going to be great neighbors.”
Bridgeton Holdings opened Journey East Hampton, the former Inn at East Hampton, in 2018. Five months later, it sought permission from the planning board to install a bar.
With reporting by Jamie Bufalino