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Tiki Bar Proposal



In early 2014 a developer named Clifford Spence approached Town of Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson with a proposal of operating a seasonal “tiki bar” style beach restaurant (open only to boaters) on the small island off Hobart Beach, known as Sand City Island-- formerly used for sand mining operations. Mr. Spence’s thought was to lease, rent or purchase the island from the TOH. He has engaged an architect and an engineer to create plans with the goal of presenting his proposal to the Town Board. Such renderings were not on the advice of the TOH.  Mr. Spence describes his project as a simple, seasonal family-oriented restaurant that would offer boaters a unique destination in the greater Huntington/Northport bay area. He is, he indicated, at the very early stages of the project. He showed up at the May POENB meeting, unannounced, and requested an opportunity to speak to the membership. Mr. Spence was under the impression that the POENB had been alerted about his coming by a representative of Mark Cuthbertson’s office. POENB President Ken Schultz told him this was not the case. Mr. Spence was turned away.


On the heels of this incident, Councilman Cuthbertson’s Office quickly sent a letter to the POENB to clarify his involvement. His note indicated that, two months prior, he had met with the developer about the proposal, which had been described as being on a barge off of Sand City, accessible by boat only. This description differed from what Mr. Spence described in a letter to the POENB--which indicated placement on Sand City Island. Councilman Cuthbertson indicated that he felt the proposal was dubious at best but advised Mr. Spence that if he wanted to pursue the venture, he would have to obtain numerous town approvals and DEC permits. Mr. Cuthberston further indicated any such pursuit would need to be fully vetted with the local boating and Eaton’s Neck communities. He suggested Mr. Spence meet with the POENB to determine if his proposal could garner any support.


Mr. Cuthbertson also wished to clarify something he had read in the Changing Tides—that Mr. Spence indicated he was seeking permission to build a two-story tiki bar at Hobart Beach. Mr. Cutherbertson wished to make clear that such a commercial venture would violate the residential zoning of Eaton’s Neck and went on to say that while he could not speak for the other members of the Town Board, he would not support such a change of zone application and any such commercialization of Eaton’s Neck. He concluded by saying that, based on the initial concerned response by POENB membership, he is most reluctant to support any such proposal for any tiki-type business, floating or land based.


For information on Mr. Spence's presentation at the July POENB Meeting see the July issue of Changing Tides