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Oct 27, 2010 11:23 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Code Enforcement Closes Rumba's Overflow Parking Lot

Oct 27, 2010 11:23 AM

Rumba Rum Bar, a popular new restaurant on Canoe Place Road in Hampton Bays, recently lost its overflow parking lot after Southampton Town Code Enforcement officials told the eatery’s owner that diners were never supposed to park there.

According to owner David Hersh, diners at Rumba had previously been parking, with permission from the property owner, on the front lawn of a private residence located at 60 Canoe Place Road, across the street from the restaurant, since he opened in April. Code enforcement did not respond until August, when it received the complaint about the overflow parking lot.

Mr. Hersh said Margaret Durand, the owner of the property that features five buildings, including a yellow house near the makeshift parking lot, gave him permission to park cars on her front lawn as soon as he opened his doors. The overflow space accommodated up to 20 cars, and those diners would then walk across the street to the restaurant, which is located at 43 Canoe Place Road. The restaurant’s main lot can hold about 28 vehicles.

“My front yard was a mess anyway,” said Ms. Durand, adding that she used to allow the employees of Rumba’s predecessors, including Margarita Island, to park on her front lawn for free.

Mr. Hersh said code enforcement officers visited his restaurant on September 7 and advised him that diners were no longer permitted to park across the street, regardless of whether or not he had Ms. Durand’s consent. Though he was not served with a summons, Mr. Hersh said his neighbor’s property is zoned residential and cannot be used as a restaurant parking lot.

“It’s a pretty straightforward situation,” said David Betts, the chief investigator for Southampton Town Code Enforcement. “The property across the street is residential. You can’t use that as a parking lot.”

A code enforcement field report filed at noon on August 4 said that a responding officer told Mr. Hersh that “he may have an over-occupancy situation.” The report also states that an officer advised Mr. Hersh to comply with zoning laws and to speak with the chief building inspector and the town’s Building Department about zoning in the area.

Mr. Betts, citing privacy issues, declined to identify those who complained about the overflow lot, or to say how many complaints were received by his department.

Ms. Durand said she allowed diners access to her property because she preferred that they park there rather than out on the street. Ms. Durand, who says she has never stepped foot inside Rumba, said Mr. Hersh would occasionally give her food as a thank you. Originally, she did not charge him rent for the lot. “He would give me a few hundred dollars here and there,” Ms. Durand said about Mr. Hersh. “It wasn’t a rent thing. He did it out of the kindness of his heart.”

“They’re nice people,” Ms. Durand said of Mr. Hersh and his staff.

Mr. Hersh said his neighbor let his diners park in her yard after seeing several businesses fail in that location. He added that Ms. Durand “wanted to see a young couple be successful.” Mr. Hersh and his wife, Rachel, who live in Eastport, run the restaurant.

To compensate for the loss of those additional spaces, Mr. Hersh said he utilizes a valet service that tries to maximize his main lot. In spite of the setback, Mr. Hersh, who said he intends to open additional restaurants in the area down the road, thinks that Rumba will continue to be successful.

“I think that we have a good product,” he said. “People are going to get there one way or another.”

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Our Taxes at work,give me a break we should be helping anyone that is trying to be sucessful in this economy,
By DJ9222 (85), southampton on Oct 27, 10 6:24 PM
3 members liked this comment
err .... Parking is a permitted use IN EVERY DISTRICT in the town and can not be regulated. Check the town code and you will find this to be true. You do not need a permit to park or to park on someones land if you have their consent.
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Oct 27, 10 6:59 PM
2 members liked this comment
Residentially zoned parcels cannot be used for commercial purposes unless there is a pre-existing, non-conforming use on the books. It's pretty black and white. People that live on that road should not be subjected to seeing 20 cars parked on their neighbors lawn.

Additionally, there is a code for keeping your front yard well kept - all of that parking certainly would be a violation of that.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 10 9:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
Check again my dear, ACCESSORY PARKING IS A PERMITTED USE IN EVERY DISTRICT regardless if commercial or not. While they might not have planning board approval it is still a permitted use in all residential districts.

Accessory parking is not considered a commercial use. Check your facts dear!
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Oct 29, 10 10:19 AM
A little confused as to why you are calling a fellow man Dear on a comment board, but that's beside the point.

Chapter 330-77:
A. Accessory off-street parking areas shall not be located in a required front yard or side yard and shall be not less than 10 feet from any property line in a required rear yard.

Chapter 330-97:
C. A dwelling unit shall not have more than one vehicle for each conventional bedroom, plus one additional vehicle parked on the property at night, nor ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 10 3:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
yep. not surprising considering the current war against entrepreneurs and those that are working hard to be successful for their families.
By mackt (73), montauk on Oct 27, 10 7:38 PM
4 members liked this comment
Rumba is terrific! Food is excellent!
Rumba made a point of extending itself to locals and the community.
We need to protect our local entrepreneurs!
I understand it is important to have certain zoning laws...but when you have places like Neptunes with 25+ arrests the first summer weekend....
Who-ever filed the complaint should be ashamed of themselves.
By hmptnlocal (47), Hampton Bays on Oct 28, 10 2:07 PM
I constantly recommend Rumba. It is a great local eatery that caters to the local population and generates jobs in our town. When is the Town of Southampton going to start working to foster business in our community instead of pushing it elsewhere?
By Damon.Hagan (34), Southampton on Oct 29, 10 10:46 AM
2 members liked this comment
"When is the Town of Southampton going to start working to foster business in our community instead of pushing it elsewhere?"

Answer: Never.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Oct 29, 10 1:43 PM
The food isn't up for debate here, the fact that there are too many cars parked on the road and on what is supposed to be a front lawn. This establishment has little to no parking. They knew that when they started the business. I am actually surprised they didn't complain sooner.

By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 10 12:54 PM
The owners of Rumba knew how much parking was available and what your capacity was - if they needed more parking they should have started using a valet service from the start or gotten permission from another commercial site (unfortunately there aren't any too close to choose from).

The Town is not inhibiting them from running a successful business, they're enforcing basic laws. If I lived next to Rumba it certainly would affect my quality of life to look outside and see 20 cars on my ...more
Oct 29, 10 2:53 PM appended by Nature
If the Town REALLY wanted to get in the way of local businessmen, they would have been issued a summons for the illegal parking - instead they were given a warning.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 10 2:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
Lets make sure if the economy doesn't blow up everything we can call in the town to finish the job. Are you guys [ town officials ] crazy? I think it is about time that we loose one more tax paying business so we can get ourselves into more financial trouble.
By surfmat (15), Southampton on Nov 10, 10 6:20 AM