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.
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