Whale's Tale Seeks To Legalize Current Use

Owner Sosh Andriano is seeking permission to serve alcohol, post signage on 25A, extend hours and more.

principal Peter Houmere is seeking zoning relief from covenants and restrictions placed on his property in 1988 and 1990 by the Northport Village Planning Board.

Houmere's attorney Michael McCarthy told the village Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday that his client particularly wishes to allow the sale and consumption of alcohol, extend the hours of operation and allow signage on Route 25A among other changes to the covenant.

After persistent questioning, BZA Chair Cangemi was able to determine that the request is after the fact, as The Whale's Tale Cafe, owned and operated by Sosh Andriano has already extended the hours from the allowed 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends; added 64 seats from the allowed 20 to 84 and has been operating a restaurant that serves alcohol for consumption.

Cangemi also determined that landlord Houmere was aware that Andriano and/or his father had changed the use of what was formerly a snack bar to a restaurant/tavern and that alcohol was begin served approximately three years ago.

Many neighbors of the yachting center  — mainly residents of Milland Drive, west of the marina — testified that the noise that the music and people talking at The Whale's Tale's outdoor bar is damaging their quality of life.

Other neighbors, mainly those of Woodbine Avenue, boat owners who use the marina and patrons of The Whale's Tale testified that the bar is relatively mellow, quiet and an asset to the waterfront community that has no other waterfront dining besides private clubs or residences.

The decision to amend the covenant rests with the zoning board.

And residents say that this latest incident is indicative of the way that Houmere does business and displays a lack of respect for nearby residents.

The hearing was the second relating to Britannia in the past few months. T-Mobile Wireless submitted an application to the village early this year to construct a 60-foot high cell-phone tower at Britannia Yachting Center disguised as a mast in order to blend in to its waterfront, boatyard surroundings.

Residents expressed vehement opposition to that plan at a Feb. 23 hering.

"In terms of the T-Mobile issue, the board should not be considering giving the marina any further rights while it has not honored its agreement relating to its snack bar and other covenants," Milland Drive resident Andrew Aberham said.

In 2001, Britannia sued Northport Village in an attempt to extinguish the covenant requirements altogether arguing that the covenants had never been enforced and therefore were unenforceable. The Village prevailed in the lawsuit.

The BZA reserved decision on the most recent application. McCarthy asked for 15 days to submit additional comments and evidence.

As for the T-Mobile application, the BZA directed T-Mobile to pay for an engineering report done by experts chosen by the village. T-Mobile, in the process of being acquired by AT&T, has agreed to do so.

Gregory D'Alessandro May 28, 2011 at 12:23 AM
nice reporting on an important issue for the village and all it's residents. we live off woodbine and are probably as close to whale's tale as those unhappy folks on milland. we have never been adversely affected by their operation and believe that whale's tale serves an important need for village residents - the only waterfront dining in the village. instead of banning the operation, the village should rewrite the covenants in a reasonable way that permits their continued operation, even if scaled back a bit. GregD
FYI May 28, 2011 at 12:37 PM
I happened to visit the Whale's Tale recently and it was a great experience. Very low key, laid back and what I would describe as fitting for its environment. The single person live-music was great, played at a sound level that easily allowed normal conversation levels. This is an asset to the community and the operation as such should be seen as a positive. The usual complaining neighbors are not even in proximity to the location of the Whale'e Tale. With the number of empty stores in Northport, this zoning board should be working to encourage and support new enterprise that contributes to the tax base. Nothing will ever satisfy the complainers, whether it be people enjoying the evening conversing on their boats, or a reasonable appropriate use of business zoned property. I would hope that the zoning board would look to what is best for the entire community and not just to those who have a different complaint for each day. Welcome the Whale's Tale and their attempts to build a creditable business in a hostile environment. Rewrite the covenants.
Bill See May 28, 2011 at 01:02 PM
All the happy talk aside, these guys knowingly and deliberately violated the rules and regulations of the Village of Northport, and now that they've been called on the carpet for it, ("Ooops!) they want to be allowed to continue. This kind of brazen disregard deserves a smackdown, not a pass. If not, where does the line ever get drawn in Northport?
K May 28, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Please excuse me for digressing a bit from the primary issue here but since we're talking about adding patrons, my concern relates to how this change might exacerbate an already dangerous traffic pattern in that area. The steep grade, curves and excessive traffic speeds make it very dangerous when attempting turns in and out of the club and Woodbine Ave. Now add alcohol to the mix. I'd like to see some flashing warning lights or even a stop light, similar to what was done on 25A at the corner of Sunken Meadow Rd. in Fort Salonga.
Say No T-Mobile at Britannia May 28, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Additionally, in 2005 (after four years of expensive litigation) the Village won the lawsuit against Britannia, the covenants and restrictions were found to be enforceable, the sale of liquor was expressly prohibited. The covenants expressly prohibit any tavern or nightclub. Even if the Zoning Board gives the Whale's Tale a "pass" and lets them remain open with some restrictions, these are people who don't abide by the restrictions currently in place. It is likely this outright defiance (as Bill See put it "brazen disregard") of the rules is going to be rewarded or the Village will once again be forced to take Britannia to Court. Let's say Mr. Houemere "forgot" to tell Mr. Andriano about the covenants and restrictions, shouldn't Mr. Andriano have delayed his 2011 opening once he was aware that his entire operation was illegal?
Steve Ostendorff May 28, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Good shrimp tacos are hard to find in these parts and the ones here are amazing. For that alone, they should be allowed to stay. I get the rest of the issues, but SHRIMP TACOS!
Ken Wiebke May 28, 2011 at 10:06 PM
here's a guy running a business paying taxes, hiring staff paying wages and more taxes bringing some vitality to a moribund area having to face some self important bureaucratic holding sway over his livelihood. oh but he viloated the rules an regulations now maybe someone will have one beer too and add to a DANGEROUS?? traffic pattern .. what a bunch of sissys...
FYI May 29, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Alcohol has always been a part of the mix K. It's a marina. People go there for functions like parties, boating, social gatherings. There is a catering hall on the premises that has been in operation since Brittania opened. A turning lane is provided when going east on 25A and also a turning lane provided going west into the marina. The curves and steep grade you describe are both east and west of the marina's entrance. Exiting Woodbine Ave. is much more treacherous than exiting Brittania, especially when you consider all the "alcohol" in the mix from patrons leaving the numerous bars and restaurants in the village. You can't stop people from drinking and driving unless you outlaw driving. We know that outlawing drinking doesn't work. What we don't need are more unnecessary lights and stop signs. Brittania has been trying for years trying to placate the complainers and has gone so far as to construct docks for their personal use. This is not a nature preserve. It has been a commercial business establishment that pays tremendous taxes each year to Northport Village. A business in operation long before the Milland homes were built. Big economic problems even surviving in this economy. Do we want to see another empty piece of property in our community? Do you want to guess the taxes Brittania pays each year?
pat May 30, 2011 at 01:01 PM
So...Wait a minute, the owner/landlord, through a series of covenants and restrictions, agrees to a certain number of patrons, hours and no liquor sales for the Whales Tale. He leases the place and watches and consents to liquor being sold, an increase from 20 to eighty patrons and extended hours. Anyone have a problem with that? The owner, Peter Hourmere was a Northport High School teacher, so we have to assume he has a master's degree, and can read and write English. Therefore, one can infer, he decided to do whatever he wanted, to hell with C & R's. Watch this carefully, this ruling will mean you can do whatever YOU want (addition to your house, deck, apartment, cabana, front porch) and point to this case when you get caught.
Will M May 31, 2011 at 09:44 PM
Wait let me get this strait, N'prtr wants to go to someone elses neighborhood and eat drink and party and then go home to home to his own quiet little house. Now that's style. Anyway, who doesn't love shrimp tacos?
Rob Onion June 01, 2011 at 02:36 AM
Please keep in mind that NOISE is a form of POLLUTION.
andy Iamascia June 04, 2011 at 02:59 PM
Maybe I live on a different Milland Drive then some of the more voacl protesters to the operation of the Whale's Tail do. However i have never been adversely affected by noise music or loud voices that some seem to to resent. I also have frequented the Whales tail with my significent other and found it to a most pleasant experience. We enjoyed sitting on the deck enjoying the atmosphere the food the music and the company. The Whales Tail being the only waterfront cafe in the local area I find iit to be a well and sorely needed addition to the village, and from the looks of the many patrons we've seen enjoying the food music and company i do not stand alone in my views. I think Mr. Andriano has put together a fine staff where one wants for nothing , serves amazingly good meals . My compliments to you Sash .
avery June 05, 2011 at 01:20 AM
Andy, you do live on a what is very much a different part of the street, you are just a house or two off 25a, not down around the bend of Milland. There is no chance you or your significant other would be affected by any of the ongoing noise. BTW your significant other might be a village employee. Maybe you all are in the know about the lack of code enforcement and can share it with the rest of us.
Mike June 05, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Andy, you know that your part of Milland Drive is way too far from the Whale's Tale bar for the noise to have any affect on you or your significant other. It will have an affect on your property, although by my reading of your posting above, you don't seem to recognize this. Avery does bring up a good point in as much as your significant other may or may not be the village clerk or some other official or employee and maybe you do have some insight you would like to share as to why the village has allowed this to continue and has not enforced the code. Just wondering. I am eager to hear your thoughts on this too.
John Desiderio June 06, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Milland Resident Is anyone else aware that the Whale tale secured their liquor license by purposely leaving out a piece of info on their application. This info is the fact that there is a restrictive covenant that states - no liquor is to be served on the Brittania property AND since they're a tenant of Brittania DUH - doesn't that apply to them? They would have never been issued a liqour license if they were honest! Question - the Village had to be aware of this so don't they/we (residents/taxpayers) have liability if -GOD forbid- some horrendous accident occurs due to a drunken driver existing the marina property? This isn't only a legal issue but a moral one as well!
andy Iamascia June 08, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Yes my significent other is in fact in the employ of the Village of Northport ,That is not the issue here. I have sat on my own deck and been able to hear the music from the Whales tale, and although i'm not a fan of parrot head music or steel drum bands i have not found it to be offensive. We have visited the Whales tale ,enjoyed the food the atmospher and the company of friends.( its the only water front cafe/bar /seaffod joint in the local area) No one complains with kids playing in the street or their back yard pools making the noise that kids make. We have been able to hold a normal conversation at the bar with out having need to raise our voices to be heard ( and i abmit to having a bit of a tin ear ). Mr Andraino is also providing jobs supporting local merchants and generally contributing to the good of the village.
avery June 08, 2011 at 08:04 PM
Ok, so can your significant other tell everybody who told britannia they could do whatever they wanted? The rest of us have to follow the rules. Someone who could speak for the village told them to ignore the covenants. That person should also be responsible if not removed
andy Iamascia June 09, 2011 at 11:36 AM
As far a i know, the only person who can speak for the village is Mayor Doll. No one told anyone to " do what you want" . The zoning board has the case ,they will hand down a ruling. that ruling will have to be abided by. If one can not live by that, then one should themselves run for public office earn 51% of the populace vote and replace or remove those they believe responsible for this heinious crime. Democracy is a wonderful thing , it lets the majority decide. If the worst thing to befall us is a little music on a warm summer afternoon , out of th epark tacos and a frozen pinacolada i'll suffer that fate every day that i have left.
Say No T-Mobile at Britannia June 09, 2011 at 12:03 PM
If Mr. Houmere is repeatedly willing to go on the record saying the "village" told him to disregard the covenants and restrictions which the village sued to enforce it appears somebody in the village employ spoke for the village. All joking aside about the food, drink, etc., all that was considered when the marina was established, and the marina, (Mr. Houmere) , contracted to waive the right to intrude on its neighbors. Since 2005 when the village won the lawsuit, Britannia has acted in defiance of the covenants and restrictions. As one commenter said : "So...Wait a minute, the owner/landlord, through a series of covenants and restrictions, agrees to a certain number of patrons, hours and no liquor sales for the Whales Tale. He leases the place and watches and consents to liquor being sold, an increase from 20 to eighty patrons and extended hours. Anyone have a problem with that? The owner, Peter Hourmere was a Northport High School teacher, so we have to assume he has a master's degree, and can read and write English. Therefore, one can infer, he decided to do whatever he wanted, to hell with C & R's. Watch this carefully, this ruling will mean you can do whatever YOU want (addition to your house, deck, apartment, cabana, front porch) and point to this case when you get caught." If your significant other has strong ties via employment by in the village, maybe we can all learn how we got to this point. Gov't and the legal system did tell Britannia "no".
andy Iamascia June 10, 2011 at 12:25 PM
I agree witht he fact that as far as obeying the rules covenants and restrictions they seem to have an attitude as to "its easier to beg forgivness then ask permission''. which is why the zoning board has the case of both the Whales tail and the cell phone tower. It does seem to much more difficult to shut an operation down the to prevent it from happening, Going from a deli/convenience store to a waterfront saloon is a bit of a stretch for anyone to swallow. Yes they were told No.(by the village) They did it anyway. At this point the lawyers, legal system and whoever else has a piece of the action will argue it out and god only knows how long that wil take before someone actually finds the guts rules on it. Right wrong or whatever, its there ,serving food and drinks. We can argue the facts on here until the cows come home, but someone else at the throne of power will eventually make the call. In the meantime the scallops are to die for
Michael June 22, 2011 at 10:30 PM
Okay...so we have heard nothing but great things about the Whales Tale, however, I would side with Pat, Bill See and Avery on this one. Where does the line get drawn? Blatant disregard for codes and restrictions are going to be rewarded? Try doing something to your home and surely expect a visit from a code enforcement officer (which there is none for this matter apparently). Serving liquor and extending seat capacity (w/o traffic pattern study or parking study and omissions to get liquor license) without even applying for proper permits is just a slap in the face to the NZB. Someone else in town is going through the proper channels to open a place that IS zoned correctly but is being held up by who? You guessed it, NZB. That's what you get for doing things the right way I guess. Now, half the season will be over, if not all, before that case is resolved and the revenue (and taxes) will be lost for the high season. Not only that, but there are jobs waiting there too!!
avery June 23, 2011 at 01:20 AM
Well said Michael. For sure now that it is almost July fourth it is obvious that the village is conspiring to keep the Whale's Tale open and running all summer. Even the village attorney told the newspapers that he wouldn't do anything until they were open. Couldn't he have gone to court before they opened for the season and stopped them from opening? Now for months the village tells people that the covenants can't be enforced...meaning Britannia and Whale's Tale do anything they want...no better than common criminals...The village hasn't even tried to enforce. People are suffering the loss of enjoyment of their homes, something Britannia agreed to protect before they were allowed to even build the place. This village government has some interest in keeping the place open. The past village government at least took the criminals to court. The zoning board just delays deciding the case and all people can do is wonder who to call to investigate. Is this crookhaven all over again???????


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