The Village of Westhampton Beach's Building Department issued a stop work order on Tuesday at restaurant which is expected to open in August in the former location on Old Riverhead Road.
According to Paul Houlihan, the village's building and zoning administrator, construction crews at the restaurant tore down an awning in the back of the building to make room for food preparation and canopy before obtaining the proper permits.
This is the second time the building department has had to issue a stop work order at the location. The first time, Houlihan said, the restaurant operator - a man who gave the pseudonym Butch Bales, and has said he is the owner - began gutting the inside of the building to make room for more seating and an improved bar area without a permit.
"He was told he had to put it back the way it was," said Houlihan. "We will enforce the laws of the village."
Applications for the project in Village Hall are under the name of Westhampton architect Nick Viro.
To remedy the situation, Houlihan said there are a number of planning board issues that must be addressed, including approval of a site plan that asks for additional seating and a lingering question that board members have as to what the vision of the business is going to be.
Some board members, said Houlihan, are questioning if the restaurant will be more like a bar with the inclusion of a mechanical bull and the revamping of the bar space.
Bales argues that he intends for his business to be a family-style restaurant with a mechanical bull that is meant for children. He also has a vision to have a swing set and other children's amenities so that kids can play while their parent's dine.
Bales said has been working since June on the building, which has sat vacant since March 31, gutting the Irish decor to make room for cow-hide chairs, country seating, a new bar, big screen televisions, barn doors and open kitchen with cook-out table.
"I build world class restaurants and I have never had a problem like this before," said Bales, adding that he has been forced to hire an attorney, Jim Hulme of Kelly & Hulme of Westhampton Beach.
Bales deferred any further comment to his attorney, who was not immediately available.
Bales did say, however, that he does plan to appear at the planning board's work session at 5:30 p.m. The planning board's regular meeting is scheduled for Aug. 9, which is the earliest date that any further approvals can be made, according to Houlihan.
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