Building Inspector Says Beach House Bar, Shop Violates Code

The Montauk Beach House owner says the uses are permitted and are reviewing the options.

A bar and retail shop at a new hotel resort in Montauk has the owners of The Montauk Beach House in hot water.

Thomas Preiato, the senior for the Town of East Hampton, inspected the property on July 26 and discovered a full bar, where a counter in the guest services building was proposed on plans that had been submitted to his office, and a retail clothing shop in what was a shed.

"These are serious issues, and you are directed to cease the operation of the same, since it is in violation of the Code and to avoid further enforcement proceedings," Preiato wrote in a letter dated Friday to Chris Jones, an owner of the hotel.

The Montauk Beach House, formerly the Ronjo motel and situated in the heart of downtown Montauk, to the resort's pools. Minnie Rose, a luxury knitwear store, opened as a pop-up shop.

The hotel opened last month with led by East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, after months of controversy surrounding the sale of .

"It is clearly evident that the bar is being used for more than guest services," Preiato wrote. "Based upon my inspection I determine that the service bar is being used as a general public "bar", a use not approved for the structure," he said, adding that the business is in violation of two sections of the Town of East Hampton Zoning Code having not been approved under site plan review or on a building permit.

The retail shop also has no required approvals. The shed it is in has been altered and has not been inspected, Preiato said.

In a statement on Tuesday, Jones countered that the uses are permitted under the town code. "Ancillary services to resort guests are an important component of the guest experience that is recognized by the town code and has provided an economic benefit to the town for decades that has contributed to the success of this important sector of the local economy," he said.

"In situations like this, where property owners do not agree with the determination of the building department, mechanisms are provided in the Town Code to resolve such situations -- namely the ZBA -- and we will be reviewing these options in conjunction with experts in this matter," Jones said.

Reality Check August 01, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Mr. Jones is being ingenuous.Yes, "the uses are permitted under the town code." But the Ronjo is pre-existing & non-conforming, and every single change of use should have gone through site plan review with the Planning Board. The Ronjo never ever had a liquor license even to sell alcohol to its own guests! The East Hampton Town Building Department and the entire Division of Public Safety really dropped the ball on this construction project. Is this an example of collective memory loss on the part of town employees, or is something else going on here?
Factual August 02, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Reality Check is not a fact checker.
pat August 02, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Sounds like surf lodge, part deux. This place is just the latest thumb in the eye of montauk's citizens.
Reality Check August 02, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Which facts need checking, Factual?
Factual August 02, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Reality Check - Have you researched the 60 year history of the Ronjo for serving alcohol including speaking with former employees from say 30 years ago? How did Public Safety drop the ball? What did they not do correctly? Did the building inspector send a letter when he discovered something he thought was not in the original approval? Is the process not being followed with the owners going to the ZBA? What did the hard working town employees not do correctly? The DA has already reprimanded people who have already falsely and scurriously accused town employees of not doing their job. Now you are impugning the reputations of the same people for doing nothing but their jobs.
Reality Check August 03, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Factual, what I did was go to the NY State Liquor Authority website which lists licenses granted and to whom, and the Ronjo was never listed. The list goes back for years. Maybe I missed it--maybe it once had a license and I didn't find it. But it is the best place to look to see if a business has ever "been in the business" of selling alcohol. Complimentary drinks and food are a different story.
todd August 03, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Wilkinson quite clearly believes anything that makes a buck should be allowed. The word is out that businesses can pretty much do whatever they want in Montauk. Some would say that is pro-business. But what about the businesses that follow the law and now are facing unfair competition from businesses that don't follow the rules. If I owned a bar I'd be pissed that Ronjo is operating a public bar when it shouldn't. Nice to see that the building inspector and town attorney are finally fulfilling their responsibilities. So sad to see what has happened to Montauk in such a short time.
Justine Am August 03, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Reality check- is that an acronymn for Zach Cohen? Keep at it Zach, the slander lawsuit is right around your corner. These guys from the ronjo must be really happy that your back in the game for round 2. All making for a nice lawsuit!
Factual August 05, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Way to call it Justine Am. 'Reality Check" is in all likelihood Cohen. Even uses the same words from Cohen quotes in his past. Can't believe it appears he is again attacking town employees and degrading their reputations after being spanked big time by the DA. He definitely has some kind of obsession to see the Ronjo closed down and seems to be willing to libel anyone to accomplish it. Justine, you seem to speak with authority on the soon to be revealed law suit. You have to admit there is something very strange about how Cohen and the Democrats have targeted the Ronjo and are willing to throw anything out there that might disparage the town employees, elected officials, and the owners.
Factual August 07, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Where's Zack...I mean Reality Check? Outed and now gone underground with his adhominem attacks on a business he and the Democrats have selected for eradication all over politics. What a sham.


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