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Meetings set on South Jamesport Beach alcohol plan

The Riverhead Town Board has scheduled a public meeting to get community feedback on the idea of selling alcohol and food at South Jamesport Beach and allowing live music at certain times over the summer.

The meeting is set for Tuesday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the town senior center on Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue. The Town Board is proposing it as a pilot project to see how it works out. 

The proposal would allow food, beer and wine to be sold for 14 weekends between May 31 and Sept. 1. The beach would remain open from 5 to 9 p.m. on those days.

There would be two food trucks, one beer vendor and one wine vendor each night that would be chosen through a request for proposals. They would focus on local wines and craft beers, according to Councilman Tim Hubbard. 

There would also be live music, which would have to stay within the 80 decibel sound limit, he said. The recreation department could determine what music will be played. 

Since the vendors would be working under a license agreement and not a contract, the town could discontinue the arrangement at any time if it’s not working out, according to Ray Coyne, superintendent of Riverhead’s parks and recreation department. 

The proposal was discussed at last Thursday’s Town Board work session. 

Currently, the town can only sell packaged items and ice cream at the concession stand, which needs significant repairs before it can be used to make hot food, such as hot dogs and hamburgers. 

Alcohol would not be allowed on the beach and can be consumed only in a fenced-off area near the concession stand, Mr. Hubbard said. 

Mr. Coyne said two beach attendants and one police officer would be present each weekend evening for four hours at a cost of $408 per night, or $5,712 for the season. 

William Van Helmond, president of the Greater Jamesport Civic Association, said he lived in Hampton Bays for 26 years and the business owners there felt the Beach Bar at Suffolk County’s Meschutt Beach hurt their businesses on Friday and Saturday nights. 

He said his membership is open to limiting events to Riverhead residents and not publicizing them elsewhere and does not favor anything large-scale.

Jon Troyan, an owner of Cuddy’s restaurant in South Jamesport, initially felt it would compete with his business, but after hearing more about it last week, he said he “loved the concept” and misunderstood what was being proposed earlier. 

The Greater Jamesport Civic Association is scheduled to discuss the project at its next meeting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Jamesport Meeting House, where Councilwoman Catherine Kent will speak. 

Town Board members felt a community meeting at a larger venue like the senior center would be preferable.

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