Town Board ponders beach businesses; Seeks compromise on food truck

The Town Board is still working out decisions on applications for businesses seeking to operate at various sites, including Crescent Beach, this summer.

Still in limbo is the food truck operated by Ashley Knight of the Islander in front of Sunset Beach Hotel last summer. Ms. Knight thought she had agreement from operators of Sunset Beach, but they backed away from any agreement, telling Town Board members last week they would be opposed to having the food truck in the same area where it operated last year.

That had the Town Board at its Tuesday work session offering to allow the truck further down the beach or moving to Wades Beach. Neither pleased Ms. Knight, who argued that she operates a brick-and-mortar business and has long been involved with the community while Sunset Beach is open only about two months a year and its operators aren’t invested in the community.

Supervisor Gerry Siller said Sunset Beach pays taxes to the town just as Ms. Knight does for her restaurant and gives service to the town. He noted that when Ms. Knight got approval for the food truck last summer, she was told it might be only for a year.

But the Town Board last week had said that the two businesses were starkly different and served different clientele.

Ultimately, Councilman Jim Colligan elicited an agreement for a meeting with Ms. Knight, a representative of Sunset Beach and other Town Board members at the site that Police Chief Jim Read said could work. It is down the road from Sunset Beach, but not so far that people would be afraid to allow their children to walk to the truck for food.

A business previously on the Island at Crescent Beach and expected to be approved for this summer is Venture Out, a paddle board company. A week ago, it appeared a second similar company, 27 Paddles, was seeking to operate at Crescent Beach as well. But a half hour before Tuesday’s meeting, 27 Paddles’ representatives pulled their application. 

The long-operating Kayak Shelter Island is also expected to gain approval, but there’s likely to be some negotiation about sites. At issue is whether Kayak Shelter Island can operate out of Burns Road overlooking Coecles Harbor. It has operated out of there in the past. It’s an issue to be worked out prior to an anticipated approval of the application.

The Board is looking hard at an application from Evan Guillemin and Ricki Stern to hold a rehearsal dinner at Shell Beach on a Friday night in August. Traditionally, the town has tried to avoid approval of special events on summer weekends, especially at beach sites. Before any decision is made, the Town Board wants to see a full application with information on the number of attendees, tables and chairs needed, food arrangements and issues of whether music is planned. Concerns about parking were at least partially answered by Councilman Albert Dickson who said he understood plans called for using a shuttle bus to bring guests to the site.

No decision will be made until the Town Board has an opportunity to review a full application.

An application for a photo shoot at 41 North Menantic Road seems headed for approval because it involves few people and is an indoor event involving pictures of furniture.

A late entry into the beach use discussions came from a company that wants to pitch two large tents on Crescent Beach and provide massages. The application came in just before the meeting Tuesday and Town Board members need time to review it. But Mr. Siller said he doesn’t favor approval. Chief Read noted that the company has previously operated on the Island for some 10 years. Full details aren’t yet available.