Montauk residents met yesterday with the East Hampton Town Board regarding the party scene in the hamlet. The two businesses most often mentioned yesterday are the Sloppy Tuna and the Surf Lodge. We reached out to Jayma Cardoso, owner of the Surf Lodge, for her take on the matter.
Thanks for talking to us, Jayma.
After attending the Town Board meeting yesterday, I left feeling very concerned with the community's opinion of who I am and how I run my business. I am part of this community, I am a homeowner, and I am a mother raising my son here. I've been coming to Montauk for over 18 years, and for me, it is home. I share the same concerns as everyone and I am just as upset with the current state of affairs. That said, no one is more aware of what happens at The Surf Lodge than I am. I make a concerted effort to be a good neighbor and to run a business that is not only safe for my guests, but also has strong ties to the community.
Do you agree that the Surf Lodge is overcrowded?
I'd like to address the concerns that many residents expressed. Many feel that the Surf Lodge is getting away with abusing our occupancy limits. We are very aware of how many people are on our property at any given time, we shut our door down 50 people before we have to, and the Fire Marshal, who checks in quite regularly, can confirm that. As well, the Surf Lodge is allowed to stay open until 4AM, but we choose to close at 2AM. Regarding trash, no one is allowed to leave The Surf Lodge with any kind of open container, but each and every morning, we send a team of people to clean up and down Edgemere Street including the railroad station, not because the trash is coming from my venue but because it is the right thing to do. We also regularly organize beach clean-ups because we live here too and it is an easy way for us to help maintain our shoreline.
Don't you think there are hazardous conditions with too many cars along Edgemere?
Do I think that the parking situation along Edgemere Street is a concern? Absolutely! I agree with the board that it should be a no parking zone. I am just as worried about the safety of our guests and others who need to make their way down that road. But until that changes, all I can do is maintain some order at the entrance to my parking lot. My team is instructed to keep traffic moving with absolutely no stopping in front of the property.
What's the situation with restrooms at the Surf Lodge?
I am keenly aware that we do not have enough facilities on the property to accommodate guests comfortably on a busy day. In the past we had arranged for a very nice trailer in the parking lot to help take the burden off of the bathrooms but we were fined for it. If we were allowed to have the trailer again, we'd be happy to oblige. Additionally, anyone caught urinating anywhere but the bathroom is escorted off the property immediately. We have no tolerance for that. As for a recent photo that was published in which the photographer insinuated that a group was urinating in Fort Pond, all I see is a group of friends standing in knee-deep water
Any other issues you'd like to bring up?
I believe both residents and businesses alike have been inundated with more visitors than Montauk is accustomed too. We all know that the town has reached capacity and the question is, Where are these people staying and what regulations are in place for share houses?
When I heard someone at the Town Board meeting allege that businesses like mine "laugh at the town," it truly bothered me. The Surf Lodge has donated over $100K to the Montauk Playhouse as a way of giving back to the community, and up until now, it is something that I have refused to publicize. I don't do this as a way to "get away with anything;" it's my way of being an active member of the town. I spend a great deal of time focusing on how to be a better neighbor, how to create a safer environment, and how to continually build a culture via my business that Montauk can be proud of.
I would love to speak and meet with anyone that has a concern about The Surf Lodge. Please come see me and say hello.
· The Surf Lodge [Official]
· Concerned Montauk Residents Pack Firehouse for Meeting with Town Board [CH]