ZBA approves snack bar at Aqua by American Beech hotel in Aquebogue

A recent decision by the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals will allow a storage shed to be converted into a snack bar at the Aqua by American Beech hotel in Aquebogue.

The owners of the 18-room hotel had been seeking a ZBA interpretation as to whether the renovation would constitute a nonconforming expansion or nonconforming change, rather than obtain a special permit from the Town Board to operate.

The Feb. 27 vote approves the use with several conditions that state the snack bar will be for the exclusive use of guests of the hotel, no alcohol will be served, no cooking equipment other than a microwave will be allowed inside and no expansion of the 332-square-foot footprint is permitted.

Those conditions will be contained in a Certificate of Occupancy they must obtain once renovation of the shed is complete.

At a ZBA meeting earlier this year, the owners’ attorney, Charles Cuddy, said the shed is a preexisting nonconformity that has stood at the site for more than 50 years.

“It’s been repaired and rejuvenated by the last two owners,” he said of the 1-acre property on Bay Avenue. 

The shed has been used historically for dressing, showering and most recently, for storage, Mr. Cuddy said.

“It’s always been an accessory building at that site … All it does is change the use from prior uses to a snack bar. It offends nobody because nobody can see it,” he added, arguing that the property is secluded from its neighbors.