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Village Makes Late-Night Club Ban Official

Wed, 07/03/2024 - 09:37

A proposal to ban late-night dining activities in East Hampton Village’s historic districts was signed into law on June 21 after the village board voted unanimously, and with no new comments from stakeholders, to enact the rule change.

Prior to the vote that day, dozens of residents had spoken out, both at meetings and in letters on the official record, in support of the measure halting drinking and dining past 11 p.m. at inns and restaurants within the bounds of East Hampton Village’s four historic districts.

The legislation formally prohibits operations between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. at “late-night restaurant clubs,” which are defined as “a membership or subscription-based social, dining, and beverage venue, establishment, or association” on a membership, subscription, or dues-based system. It goes on to include a list of places to which the new rule applies: “restaurant, nightclub, cabaret, tavern, bar, cafe, hotel, motel, inn, supper club, or social club.”

The village board also unanimously adopted a resolution affirming that the new rule will not have a significant negative impact on the environment, a requirement of New York State’s Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). “The Village Board of Trustees believes that prohibiting inns and restaurants from operating as ‘late-night restaurant clubs’ will maintain the peaceful character of the village’s residential neighborhoods and preserve the village’s historic districts,” reads a summary of the SEQRA report.

The rule is to take effect as soon as the village clerk receives word from the New York State Department of State that it has received the approved resolution.

Leading up to the vote, village officials did not specifically state the new rule was aimed at preventing the elite private-membership club Zero Bond from setting up an outpost at the Hedges Inn. However, in May, Marcos Baladron, the village administrator, implied something along those lines, telling The Star, “If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s a duck, and there’s no ducks allowed here.” Hedges Inn had already been operating under a 1981 zoning board of appeals determination to stop serving and close its doors at 10 p.m.

The Star previously reported that Zero Bond had talked to the village about occupying the Hedges as far back as October 2023. The inn had not been put up for a prior offer of lease or sale.

Also on June 21, the board extended a moratorium, by six more months, on the conversion of tennis courts into pickleball courts within village boundaries.

The board also extended, through June 21, 2026, an agreement with the shuttle service known as Circuit to operate for two more years and allow it to park in the long-term parking lot. Circuit Transit Inc. will pay $3,500 per year for the next two years.

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