Hearing On Music Permits Goes Virtual

Crowds like this one from last year’s public hearing on music performance permitting will not form due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After several months of fine-tuning a proposed amended musical performance permit law, the East Hampton Town Board has scheduled a third public hearing on the matter for May 21. The law is designed with two major differences from previous versions, which board members believe will be music to the ears of those who previously opposed it.

The May 21 hearing, scheduled to start at 11 AM, will be quite different than the previous two, which drew large crowds to town hall. This time, there will be no crowd at all. Instead, following guidance on social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting will be a virtual one. The public will have the opportunity to see and hear the meeting live and provide comments, and a transcript will be available online, which the public will be able to add follow-up comments to.

NancyLynn Thiele, a senior town attorney, explained the changes to the law, which were made after hearing comments from opponents at the last two meetings, in March of 2019 and January of this year.

Unlike previous proposals, the town clerk’s office will not be in a position to deny an application for the annual renewal of a permit based upon convictions of the owners of an establishment. Instead, if it is determined the owner or management have been convicted three times over the previous permit year, the renewal will be referred to a special board consisting of appointed chairs of the town’s zoning board of appeals, planning board, and architectural review board.

Thiele believes the current proposal has taken politics and possible conflicts of interest out of the review board’s composition.

The convictions would have to be for specific violations of one of a narrow set of laws regarding safety and noise.

According to the town’s website, the public can watch the live meeting locally on Channel 22, and live online from the public meetings link on the LTV website www.ltveh.org. If any members of the public would like to provide comments on a public hearing, they can call in to speak during the meeting. The call-in number for the meeting is 351-888-6331.

Residents will also be able to email comments on the proposal, to be submitted after the meeting.

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