Language error forces second Hawkins Inn hearing

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport.

The owners of the Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport are seeking a two-year extension of a variance granted last year that allows them to hold outdoor events in a tent, such as weddings and graduations. But they will need a second public hearing before the Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals, because the legal notice advertising the hearing held last Thursday incorrectly described its purpose.

The hearing notice that was published in the News-Review, as well as on the ZBA’s own agenda and on the town’s website, described the hearing as a proposal to reopen a prior hearing seeking an interpretation of whether the town’s definition of country inn allows incidental uses such as weddings, graduations and anniversaries, and whether such events could be held outside.

But Frank Yakaboski, the inn’s attorney, said the company was seeking a two-year renewal of the variance granted in November 2010, which expired late last year.

When questioned by audience members at the first hearing, ZBA attorney Scott DeSimone said the legal notice was incorrect. The ZBA will continue the hearing, this time with the proper wording, at its Jan. 26 meeting.

Bill Welsh, who lives across the street from the Hawkins Inn, said he couldn’t recall any outdoor weddings held there over the past year. Mr. Yakaboski said that’s because weddings are planned well in advance and they couldn’t schedule them without assurances that they would be allowed to do so, which is why they are now requesting a two-year extension.

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