The ongoing battle between Milland Drive residents and the owners of The Whale’s Tale, a tenant of the on 25A, will continue on Dec. 20 when the holds a public hearing to discuss modifying village code to allow restaurants serving alcohol to operate in the marine business district.
Earlier this year, eight residents of Milland Drive, located west of the property on 25A, filed a lawsuit against the Britannia and Whale's Tale owner Sosh Adriano for disregarding covenants and restrictions placed on the property in 1988 and 1990. Four years ago the business was expanded from a 20-seat snack bar to an 84-seat restaurant serving alcohol. The residents’ main complaint is the noise level from the crowds as well as the sounds of live and amplified music.
The new proposed legislation would allow restaurants serving alcohol to operate in the village’s marine business district through a special use permit. Outdoor music, either live or amplified, would be prohibited. However, up to four outdoor musical events per calendar year would be allowed.
The covenants restricting the Britannia to marine use also came up during to construct a 60-foot cellular communications tower on the northwest corner of the Britannia building back in February.
At that time, Milland resident Jill Plosky provided copies of the covenants to Village Clerk Donna Koch, saying, “It appears that all officials and agencies do not have copies of these documents, nor are they ever enforced.”
Her to Koch continued, “My neighbors advise me that there is no compliance officer who will respond to complaints and the police refuse to act or respond properly to complaints regarding Britannia and their violation of the covenants, restrictions and Village Resolutions of 1988.”
The possibility of altering the village code to allow for outdoor music events doesn’t sit well with at least one of the eight residents who preferred not to give his name. He said that on one night over the summer, the amplified music was so loud that people at the end of Milland Drive on Route 25A could hear it and the police had to be called. “If I’m playing my music so loud that my neighbor can’t hear their own music, then I’m playing my music too loud.”
The real problem, he feels, isn’t the music, but the alcohol. On some nights the man said that as many as 30 people lining the railing behind the restaurant can be seen holding drinks.
“In my opinion, the covenants and restrictions are written for a good reason,” he said. “They will be modified if there’s a change in the surrounding area. But nothing has changed.”
As for the Dec. 20 public hearing on changing the village code, the man confirmed that he has yet to speak with attorney E. Christopher Murray, of Ruskin, Moscou and Faltischek in Uniondale, who is litigating for the residents. But he acknowledged that the legal wrangling that has allowed the case to drag on, permitting the Whale’s Tale to operate another season, is a source of frustration. “I feel like I’m George Bailey in 'It’s a Wonderful Life' talking to Mr. Potter.”
The public hearing will take place at 6 p.m. at Village Hall on Main Street.