Follow Progress For Westhampton Beach
By: Progress for Westhampton Beach
At the August meeting for the Board of Trustees there were mostly routine matters on the agenda. Two matters of significance were addressed.
The update of the master plan is now under way. This has been in the works for months and at times was stalled. Now, there will be a review of the master plan by a committee of village residents with services provided by Nelson, Pope and Vorhiss, LLC. Such periodic reviews are essential to ensure that the best laid plans made years ago for our village remain appropriate, and that implementation of that plan has the best chance for success. In conjunction with this review a Business District Task Force was created; the Mayor appointed and the Board confirmed: Joe Musnicki, Susan Rosenberg, David Fox, Jackie Bennett, Robert Busking, Paul Montagna, Dee Perfido, Jim Badzik and Jean Marie Braat to serve. The Board left open the possibility for other interested individuals to be appointed as well.
The second matter of particular interest was a public hearing on a change in the village code.
The Change in the Village Code
Many in the Village of Westhampton Beach, as in other communities, are concerned that local businesses that are part of village’s unique appeal are in constant competition with the cookie cutter chain stores that enjoy economic advantages of scale.
There is no legal way to prohibit a business based upon it being part of a national chain. Still, many communities try. Local government is permitted to use laws to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its residents and many municipalities turn to zoning laws to attempt to indirectly regulate national chain stores.
It appears that in 1993 our village may have attempted to address the challenge from national chain stores through its definition of Fast Food Restaurants which are prohibited in the village. The village code defines any restaurant having more than one cash register as a prohibited Fast Food Restaurant, the 1 register law.
It does not take an undercover investigation to see that there are several local restaurants in the village that use more than one register. The 1 register law must be enforced uniformly without discrimination. Our choice was to keep the 1 register law and enforce it against all restaurants, OR change this code provision. If we kept this code provision the law of unintended consequences would kick in… Continue reading August 6, 2015