East Hampton Passes Law to Keep Tabs on Village's Social Circuit

(Bloomberg) -- If you’re planning a party in East Hampton Village, don’t forget the cocktail napkins, the fancy ice cubes and the municipal permit.

The village’s board of trustees on Friday unanimously approved a law that had drawn the ire of some residents in this affluent community on Long Island’s South Fork. Starting Oct. 1, homeowners will need to apply for permits to host 50 or more people, including staff, for events to be held even partly outdoors. They’ll need to provide details at least 21 days in advance, including a sketch map of the location and what they plan in the way of outdoor loudspeakers and music.

Over the past few months, the plan has prompted criticism from some homeowners for being intrusive, unnecessary and impractical. Village officials have maintained the law doesn’t change much of what was already on the books, and is a way to help officials control noise, traffic and public safety. Permits are free, and fines start at $500.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding," trustee Barbara Borsack said after the vote. “I’ve had three wedding receptions in my backyard, and I’ve had to fill out the paperwork. It’s not a terrible thing, it’s not a difficult thing, it’s a courtesy to the police department to let them know what’s going on at your house. ”

Lenny Ackerman, a local lawyer who represents many homeowners on zoning issues, said he expects the new rule to create confusion and result in legal challenges.

“The village is going to be inundated with applications beyond anything they anticipated,” said Ackerman, who opposed the law.

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