Sagaponack Village trustees are quickly learning much of their municipal business will be deciding who is allowed to use their idyllic community for special events. At Monday’s board meeting three such events were approved and one was denied.
The board gave a green light to the “Garden as Art” garden tour benefiting Guild Hall in East Hampton. Two other events were approved contingent on further review.
The event that didn’t make the cut was a last minute addition to the agenda. Village clerk Rhodi Winchell said the application came in just before the meeting and the board, upon hearing a description of it, adamantly voted in opposition.
United Jewish Appeal hoped to host an invite-only trunk show for 200 people at a residence on Fairfield Pond Lane on August 7 with 20 vendors.
“No way, no way, no way,” said Foster. “It’s like Super Saturday. We don’t want that here.”
Mayor Don Louchheim said there was no possible way the site could accommodate parking for 200 guests and called the event a “flea market.”
“I know the house. I know the site,” said Louchheim. “There’s barely enough room to park 10 cars there.”
“We reject this application,” said Foster. “This is not enough time and this is not keeping with the characteristics.”
Out of 14 total applications, it was the first the village has denied this summer. The village, which incorporated in 2005, operated under Southampton Town’s code until last September. This is the first summer it has had to process special event applications.Â A month ago, the board passed a local law that will take affect next summer requiring a six-month notice for all such events.
“This year we’ve been very lenient,” said Winchell. “We’ve been taking them as they come. We’re trying to be as user-friendly as possible this year but next year they will have to comply.”
Another event, a celebration for 125 supporters of the not-for-profit art group Creative Time, ran into a road block in part because of their lack of notoriety.
“The claim to be a nonprofit group for me is foreign,” said trustee Alfred Kelman. “I’d be voting in total ignorance. At the very least, we should request from them what in the world they do and what they’ve done in the past.”
“It’s embarrassing and appalling that we should even be presented with something like this,” said deputy mayor Lee Foster. “It’s three weeks out, there’s no one here from the group.”
“I don’t see how we can deny this considering all the others we’ve approved and this one has onsite parking and won’t have an impact on the road,” said Louchheim.
An outdoor movie screening to benefit the Fresh Air Fund on August 10 for 200 people was also given a “conditional approval.” The mayor took exception to the lack of parking and the late hours of the event, slated from 8 to 11 p.m. Kelman had a problem with the sound.
“My objection is having an outdoor screening of a movie is invasive to all of the neighbors,” said Kelman.
Louchheim asked him how it was any different from music being played outside and Kelman said it would be louder.
“You cannot provide headsets to people listening to a dance band,” said Kelman. “If they really want to watch a movie they should watch it like a drive-in [with the sound being provided through a speaker in each viewer].”
The board decided to approve the screening only after they approach the applicant about the sound.
Photo: Sagaponack Village Trustee Alfred Kelman