The first weekend of a police crackdown on disruptive partying in Montauk has led to seven arrests and dozens of town code violation summonses and traffic tickets, police said.
The increased enforcement comes after residents of the East End hamlet demanded officials do something to control noise, drunkenness and traffic congestion.
East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said the arrests resulted from incidents of drunken driving, drug possession and possession of a forged instrument.
Sarlo said at least four businesses were cited for noise violations, and one was given a citation for hosting a "mass gathering" on the beach without a permit. He said there were 85 town code summonses, 25 vehicle and traffic tickets and 36 parking tickets. He said the summonses were mostly for open alcohol, public urination, litter and violations of beach fire regulations.
Residents demanded something be done after a particularly raucous Fourth of July weekend during which 16 people were charged with infractions such as drunken driving, harassment and motor vehicle violations.
Sarlo said the Independence Day holiday falling on a Saturday and two fireworks events in the area caused a "perfect storm" that led to what officials described as simmering frustrations within the Montauk community about disrespectful guests.
Last week, nearly 300 residents attended a town board work session to demand that something be done after they said they had endured years of putting up with public intoxication and urination, and traffic and other safety issues caused mostly by young visitors to Montauk and its bars.
It was one of several meetings held last week during which residents expressed their outrage at the problem.
"We are working hard to enforce the laws that affect the quality of life of the residents and protect the safety of everyone, visitors and business owners alike," Sarlo said. "The crowds are not going anywhere anytime soon, and it's going to take a prolonged effort to help change the behaviors offending the public."
"We have had some productive meetings with businesses and some are willing to step up and take steps to tone down their noise and crowds, and clean up around their establishments," Sarlo said. "We need that cooperation."
Merrie Butler, a Montauk resident and the manager of Inlet Seafood on East Lake Drive, said that although the lunch and dinner spot is nearly six miles from the downtown area where much of the party action is concentrated on Friday and Saturday nights, she's happy about the crackdown.
"It's simple and serene over here," Butler said in an interview Sunday of her Lake Drive location. "But we hear complaints about it."
She added, "I'm all for it. I've lived out here for 30 years and would like to have the town somewhat reasonable for people to come out and visit. I'm afraid there's going to be a fire or something [at one of the problem establishments] and people are not going to be able to get out."