A Jericho banquet hall faces noise complaints as it tries to get a special-use permit to operate as a catering facility.
For more than 60 years, the Cotillion at 440 Jericho Tpke. has operated as a banquet hall, but when the owner went to renew its public assembly license in 2016, Oyster Bay officials said it lacked a permit to operate as a catering facility in an area zoned for neighborhood business.
The Cotillion’s attorney, Howard Avrutine, of Syosset-based Avrutine & Associates PLLC, told the Town Board at a hearing on Tuesday that the catering facility has operated there for decades.
Avrutine said that many residents remember it under previous owners as Golden Meadowbrook Caterers. The current owner, Tony Nedunilam, has operated it as a restaurant and catering facility serving Indian and Indo-Chinese food. Nedunilam’s company, Ted Ned Inc., is a tenant of the property’s owner Nakanant Realty Corp.
"There were public assembly licenses issued on an annual basis by the town during that period of time … this is not a situation where someone is flouting the law," Avrutine said.
Oyster Bay planning commissioner Elizabeth Maccarone told the board the applicant has been working with the town to resolve the issue.
Residents in condos across the road have complained for years about ongoing loud music and noise coming from the Cotillion.
"One of the residents said the music was so loud she could still hear it with her windows closed," Marc Schneider, managing partner at Garden City-based Schneider Buchel LLP and who represents the condo association of the residents across the road from the Cotillion, told the board.
Residents have complained about steel drums being beaten at Sikh wedding ceremonies, DJs playing music too loud and guests playing loud music from their cars in the parking lot. Schneider said the application for the special-use permit should be denied.
"While Mr. Avrutine says that a prior owner may have operated a catering facility, that doesn’t give them a license to continue to do it," Schneider said.
Councilman Louis Imbroto said the noise issue needs to be resolved before the board votes on the application.
"There have to be measures to mitigate this noise so that this can’t happen in the future," Imbroto said.
Councilman Steve Labriola said the town needs to balance the interests of residents and businesses.
"We need to protect the integrity of our zoning," Labriola said. "Our job is not trying to put people out of business, but now that we have the situation we have to try to somehow figure out a way in which we can bring peace back to the neighborhood where we have a neighborhood business zone."
Avrutine said the applicant was aware of the noise complaints and will hire an acoustical engineer to propose a solution to mitigate it within 30 days of the hearing.
Other solutions the owner would commit to were having security in the parking lot to keep guests from playing loud music in their cars and ending the practice of beating steel drums outdoors, Avrutine said.
Avrutine said he told his clients that "the volumes have to be kept at a manageable level so that you don’t disturb surrounding residents."
The Town Board adjourned the hearing for 30 days.
LOWERING THE VOLUME
The owner of the Cotillion is planning to enact noise-mitigation measures that include:
- The owner, rather than a DJ, controlling music volume.
- No outdoor music.
- Security guards stopping guests from playing loud music in their cars.
- Hiring an acoustical engineer to create a mitigation plan.
Source: Howard Avrutine, attorney for Cotillion and property owner Nakanant Realty Corp.