50° Good Afternoon
50° Good Afternoon
Long IslandSuffolk

East Hampton taxi concerns replace noisy bar complaints

East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo addresses

East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo addresses the town board on July 21, 2014. Credit: John Roca

No complaints were raised about late night noise at clubs and other party venues in East Hampton Town as summer kicked off with the long Memorial Day weekend, town officials said Monday.

The loud bars, open drinking, public urinating and other drama that incensed Montauk residents last year faced stricter crowd controls at businesses, fire marshals’ inspections and the community’s “collaborative” effort to crack down on problems, East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said Monday.

“No noise complaint in Montauk, not one commercial establishment was overcrowded, and not one commercial establishment received a summons for noise,” he said. “It was definitely surprising but I’m very happy with it.”

About 47 summonses were issued over the weekend for town code violations, most of them quality of life issues such as littering, and urinating or drinking in public, police said.

Townwide, police received 374 calls over the weekend compared with 363 last year. They included issues such as emergencies at home and suspicious cars. In Montauk, police received 148 total calls compared with 146 last year.

As Sarlo went around Montauk at 9 p.m. Sunday — the cut off time for loud music — he said he saw bands packing up and businesses closing their doors and windows to keep the clamor contained.

After last summer’s publicity about the crackdown on violations, even visitors were more cognizant of the rules, with fewer people stepping out of hired vehicles with drinks in hand, officials said. Last summer, hundreds of residents reached their boiling point over the rowdiness that accompanied the influx of visitors, and they demanded action.

Restaurants, bars and entertainment venues used mechanical counters to keep within their occupancy limits and staff members made sure no one left with drinks in hand, town officials said.

“It was calm, it was a good weekend for business and I think we’re off to a good start for summer,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.

But authorities themselves had one big complaint. Taxis and other hired vehicles blocked roadways and made Montauk streets look like those in Manhattan, Sarlo said, vowing to take a harder look at the issue and the potential for safety problems.

Vans, cabs and limousines lined the streets waiting for customers, Sarlo said. Drivers backed up or made U-turns to pick up customers or stopped in the roadway, without pulling over, to drop off passengers because they didn’t want to spend time going into the parking lot, he said.

Surf Taxi manager Leo Amante blames the problems on out-of-town drivers who work in Montauk only for the summer.

“They’re just here to make money,” he said. “People who are local, we know the rules.”

Sarlo and Cantwell said they plan to issue more tickets for such parking and driving violations and stop drivers to examine licenses.

“We’d rather have taxi cabs than drunken drivers,” Sarlo said. But “the race to get in as many fares as possible can’t be at the expense of the safety of the public.”

Latest Long Island News