By Kathryn G. Menu
From the time nine-year-old Sag Harbor resident Haley Ferraris was two-years-old her parents began taking her to Poxabogue Golf Course, specifically for the pancakes and warm family atmosphere at Dan Murray’s Fairway Restaurant.
“One year for her birthday, we told her we would take her anywhere she wanted and she asked to have breakfast at Poxabogue,” said Haley’s mother, Pia, this week.
When the Fairway was closed a year ago, Ferraris said the absence of the restaurant was certainly felt by her family.
“It was hard because there was really nothing comparable,” she said. “It is kid friendly, you could just walk in and get a seat and the food was great. Also, you felt like family, everyone knew you.”
The Ferraris family will likely be joined by many this week who celebrate the return of the Fairway Restaurant this season, after the Southampton Town Board agreed on Tuesday night to award the lease for the restaurant space at Poxabogue back to Murray, who owned and ran Fairway at the course for 20 years.
“It’s great,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst on Wednesday. “It is where he belongs and we are glad to have him back.”
Murray only closed Fairway last year after he was unable to reach an agreement on a new lease with Ed Wankel, who managed the course for the towns of East Hampton and Southampton.
Wankel, through his company Long Island Golf Management, was able to secure another restaurant to take over the space last year, but that deal fell apart after mold was discovered in the basement, and the town refused to allow the restaurant to operate during dinner hours and serve alcohol for the first time in its history.
Once repairs were complete at Poxabogue, the town board itself put out request for bids on the restaurant rather than rely on Wankel, but twice received no offers. This time, the town removed a $7,500 minimum monthly rent for the space from the bid requirements and received offers from Murray as well another restaurant company.
While Murray has been announced as the winning bid, details on the lease had yet to be finalized as of press time, although Throne-Holst said she anticipates a contract will be ready for her signature in the next few days.
“We are hoping he will be able to open in time for the season,” she said. “That was one of the reasons we were anxious to move this along.”
Schneiderman Secures Sunday Bus Service for East End
Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman scored a victory Tuesday night, overwhelmingly passing legislation to offer Suffolk County bus service on the East End on Sundays and holidays.
The legislature approved the measure 16-1, with just the one vote not in support of the legislation representing an empty seat on the legislature.
The new service is aimed at being self-sustaining, with fares increased on the two East End lines — one that travels from Montauk to East Hampton, and another that travels from East Hampton through Riverhead and out to Orient Point on the North Fork — from $1.50 to $2.
On Wednesday, Schneiderman said he believes the fare hike is something riders will support as long as they can rely on public transportation on Sundays and during holidays, a time where many on the East End are working with tourism naturally boosting in numbers on the weekends and during holiday vacations.
“This is long over due and on the East End, especially needed,” said Schneiderman. “Not only did we have enormous support from the legislature, but we also have support from the community, our elected officials, civic organizations and environmental groups like the Group for the East End who understand that having Sunday bus service means less cars on the road.”
Schneiderman said he was unsure whether or not the legislation would be supported by County Executive Steve Levy, although he added that with 16 votes in favor of the measure if the law was vetoed he was optimistic he could gather the votes to override the County Executive.
Levy could also sign the bill into law immediately, or take no action, in which case the legislation would still become law.
If it does become law, the fare increase — the first in almost two decades — would begin June 17, with Sunday bus service beginning July 3.
Schneiderman said the legislation requires that the fare hike cover the cost of the service, but that he is optimistic the county at the very least would be able to provide Sunday and holiday bus service for at least six months, which would cover a majority of the summer season. He said the next year will act as a pilot program for the service to see how many buses are needed and at what times and how far the service can be stretched into the off-season.
“Last night I was trying to think of any other service the county has provided the East End that has been expanded in recent years and I can’t think of one,” said Schneiderman. “So this is unusual, especially in this economic climate.”
State Agrees to Repeal Saltwater Fishing License
New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced on Wednesday that the New York State Legislature has reached an agreement to repeal the Saltwater Fishing License enacted in 2009.
Under the agreement, the license law will be transformed into a registration requirement to meet federal laws. Additionally, the agreement provides that the registration will be free for the next two years and those who have purchased lifetime saltwater fishing licenses will be granted a refund minus the cost of the fee for the last year.
Thiele, like many on the East End, vehemently opposed the license requirement and has sponsored a number of bills to repeal the action. He also supported litigation by Southampton and East Hampton town trustees who along with five other Long Island communities was able to successfully obtain an injunction against the license law in seven towns.
“The idea of a saltwater fishing license was ill-conceived from the outset,” said Thiele. “Not only was it a tax on one of the fundamental rights that Long Island residents have had since colonial times, but it was a burden to the recreational fishing industry at a time when the recession was taking its toll on the local economy. This action will send a message that the State recognizes that the right to fish should be free and that recreational fishing is a critical part of the Long Island economy.”
Thiele thanked Eric Shultz and the Southampton Trustees and Diane McNally and the East Hampton Trustees for their determined opposition to the license.
“Their leadership helped to protect our rights and convince the Legislature that the license should be repealed. As always, it was a pleasure working with them.”
The agreement must still be ratified in the State Budget, which is expected to be approved by April 1.