The Huntington Town Board passed legislation Tuesday to allow smaller eateries such as pizzerias to serve alcohol, although businesses will still have to clear hurdles with the state to secure liquor licenses.
The new classification for small eateries — a bistro category — is an effort to help business owners be more competitive, officials said.
A resolution is expected to be presented next month, however, to amend the new bill to exclude the town’s hamlet centers as identified in the town’s comprehensive plan: Cold Spring Harbor, East Northport, Greenlawn, Huntington Station and downtown Huntington.
A bistro classification will allow restaurants such as pizzerias to double their number of seats and apply for liquor licenses if they meet the state requirements.
Huntington’s town code previously had only two classifications: food shops, which cannot have more than 15 seats and cannot serve alcohol; and restaurants, which must have a floor plan of at least 2,500 square feet.
Under the new classification, bistros would be permitted to have one seat for every 65 square feet of total gross floor area, up to a maximum of 38 seats for a 2,500-square-foot bistro.
The measure was approved with Town Supervisor Frank P. Petrone, town board members Mark Cuthbertson and Tracey Edwards voting yes. Town board member Susan Berland abstained, and town board member Gene Cook voted no.
The new law will take effect immediately upon filing in the Office of the Secretary of New York.
Edwards, also sponsor of the resolution to exclude some areas said, “I would have liked to have amended it today, but because it’s considered a significant change, it’s not just word-smithing — you are excluding whole hamlets. You want to give the public an opportunity to be heard at a public hearing. It’s procedural issue.”
Edwards said the amendment is in response to a request to have downtown Huntington excluded from the new classification until a long-term parking solution is reached for the area.
“The small businesses that requested the change are not in the village, and today’s approval allows them to proceed without further delay,” Edwards said.