Simmering tensions at the popular nightspot in Hampton Bays came to a boil recently when owner David Hersh was issued 10 code violations, involving site plan compliance and over occupancy.
According to Chief Town Investigator David Betts, Hersh was issued an appearance ticket and an arraignment is scheduled in Southampton Town Justice Court today.
about what they believe are safety concerns sparked by on street and the number of guests who frequent the thriving family restaurant on Canoe Place Road.
At Tuesday’s town board meeting, the board voted to ban parking after 5 p.m., with the matter to be discussed further in two weeks as the completely on Canoe Place Road.
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said while she realized the business is important to the economy and provides jobs for local college students and others, there is a need to balance safety issues, especially during the height of the summer season.
The parking ban, Throne-Holst said, is a “compromise.”
The supervisor said she has had conversations with Hersh to ensure he continues to use bus to transport patrons to the property’s parking lot. Also, she said, deliveries should be made only between 7 a.m. and noon.
Betts said when code enforcement officials visited Rumba on July 2 at approximately 9 p.m., not only were field appearance tickets issued on site plan violations and over occupancy, but there were also health department issues.
According to their site plan, Rumba is permitted to have 16 seats inside the restaurant, but Betts said he could not give an exact number of how many were seated inside on July 2 because the matter is in court.
Chief Fire Marshal Cheryl Kraft said on a recent visit, a summons was issued, but added zoning is the major problem.
Hersh said he runs a “great business” that employs local workers and vendors.
“We are not out of compliance to the point where we’re going to get shut down,” he said. “I don’t have 100 seats in my place.”
Hersh also said he runs a family restaurant that closes at 11 p.m. and of the parking ban, he said, “I don’t know if it’s moving in the right direction.”
He assures patrons that there is “plenty of parking” onsite and at a nearby marina; the bus, he said, is “a fun, a great experience.”
As for naysayers, who he said stand outside with videocameras and complain, Hersh added, “Two or three people are trying to ruin it for a thousand.” The bottom line, he said, is “I want my neighbors to be happy.”
The supervisor said Hersh was contemplating a change of locale next season; on Thursday, Hersh confirmed he is looking at a nearby site but said that would be a second restaurant; Rumba, he said, is staying put.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he said.
While Councilman Jim Malone said no parking after 5 p.m. was a “small first step,” Councilwoman Bridget Fleming was in favor of banning parking on Canoe Place Road immediately.