Amityville concerned about noise at a waterfront club
On Amityville's busy waterfront, the plea of a bar owner who says his business needs summer concerts to draw customers is running up against the concerns of neighbors who say they dread the noise and the crowds.
"There are open containers, speeding cars, motorcycles . . . Every day there is noise," said Bruce Coffey, whose house on Amityville's South Ketcham Avenue is a few hundred feet from Toomey's Tavern, a one-time bait and beer shop that hosts weekend rock concerts.
After hearing complaints like Coffey's, Amityville officials last week held off renewal of a cabaret license that Toomey's owner Reggie DeFilippo needs to continue to play music at the bar. Those licenses generally come up for renewal each year, but before taking any action this time, officials want what Deputy Mayor Jessica Bernius called a "consensus" solution to neighbors' concerns about the concerts, which have been going on for about 15 years.
To ease concerns, DeFilippo has agreed to expand off-street parking and hire staff to oversee patrons leaving the establishment, Bernius said.
Like many in the area, DeFilippo said he has struggled since the ruin of superstorm Sandy.
"After being wiped out by Sandy, this summer is extremely important to me," said DeFelippo, who added that he depends on the summer season for 75 percent of his income.
Summer crowds, nearby neighbors and powerful sound systems have forced Long Island waterfront communities from Freeport to Montauk to address the conflicting needs of business owners who depend on the summer season to carry them through the rest of the year, and residents who want to be left in peace.
Freeport Village commissioned a noise study of its Nautical Mile in 2010, and after stiff fines were set for decibel violations, some business owners began policing themselves with hand-held sound level meters.
Town of East Hampton officials are reviewing noise ordinances and stricter legislation for commercial events, said Supervisor Larry Cantwell. The town has also hired new code enforcement officers.
Residents "make an investment to enjoy the peace and quiet of the community," Cantwell said. "We have to respect their rights to enjoyment but at the same time allow business and commerce to make a living."
Amityville police have visited Toomey's Tavern four times for noise complaints since 2009, records show. DeFilippo said he has heard no complaints from neighbors since taking ownership three years ago.
Trustees are setting up a meeting between DeFilippo and some of his neighbors and have asked him to attend next week's board meeting. Trustees could attach stipulations to the cabaret license or deny it altogether, village attorney Richard Handler said.
So far, Amityville officials seem disinclined to adopt the approach taken by Westhampton Beach during the 1970s.
"We had SWAT teams of part-time police officers, fire marshals, building inspectors, code enforcement," said Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad W. Teller. "We rigorously enacted regulations to cut back on street parking and then we set up impound areas and towed them away."