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Montauk eatery Ciao may be barred from playing outdoor music for a year

Ciao By The Beach, a Montauk restaurant, is

Ciao By The Beach, a Montauk restaurant, is seen on Sept. 15, 2015. The East Hamton Town Board will meet to determine if they will suspend outdoor music at the eatery. Credit: Newsday / Lisa Irizarry

The East Hampton Town Board is expected to make a decision Thursday on a proposed year-long suspension of outdoor music at a popular restaurant in Montauk.

Ciao by the Beach has been cited this summer for three violations of having loud music and two for playing amplified music after 9 p.m.

"The outdoor amplified music is really the issue here," said Deputy Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc.

The restaurant's violations fall under the town's noise ordinance, which regulates the decibel level of music. However, an establishment providing live music must have a music license -- which gives bars and restaurants permission to have amplified music and live entertainment indoors and outdoors -- issued by the town.

At a Sept. 1 public hearing, the board discussed whether Ciao's license should be renewed in light of what East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell said was the owner's apparent unwillingness to obey the law. The violations were issued in June and July and are punishable by fines.

Restaurant representatives could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Music licenses can be renewed automatically if an establishment has no more than three violations in one year. If it does, assistant town attorney Michael Sendlenski said, the board can vote to revoke, suspend or modify the license, or set limits or impose conditions on it.

During yesterday's town board work session, Cantwell said a music license is a privilege and that when licensing rules are violated, there should be a consequence.

"I understand music is an important part of what goes on in a lot of places and it's a good thing; it's part of the ambience of many businesses," he said. "But I tend to get impatient when [violations] continue over time. It's a lack of cooperation that bothers me more than anything."

Cantwell said he wanted to revoke Ciao's license to demonstrate that board officials are serious about trying to curb such violations as part of a crackdown on unruly behaviors associated with a disruptive Montauk summertime party scene.

But other board members expressed concern that a revocation was too harsh and suggested presenting Ciao representatives with a mitigation plan that would allow the restaurant to continue offering outdoor music. After a lengthy debate, the board decided to vote on the suspension without the opportunity for a mitigation plan.

Cantwell noted the board is also considering reworking the town's music licensing law.


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