Northport pub fights town board of trustees over outdoor dining

Skipper’s Pub in Northport will continue its legal battle against the town board of trustees after the board chose to postpone the voting process on their proposal to build a rooftop bar on their property.

The Northport board of trustees met on Tuesday night to vote on whether or not to change said law. The town board says that the issue with outdoor dining has nothing to do with the pub itself, but the Northport public code on outdoor dining.

“We filed an application with the Northport zoning board asking if we can have outdoor dining,” Paul Gallowitsch Jr., son of owners Marie and Paul Gallowitsch Sr., said. “We got an eight page letter of denial, and after speaking with attorneys, we felt that the village should have granted us something, and they did not.”

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The bar sits on the corner at the north end of Main Street. The rooftop has a view of the Northport harbor that leads into the Northport bay. The view stretches to the town of Centerfold as well.

Along with that view, the pub’s rooftop overlooks a majority of the shops on Main Street, including the village town hall, where the board trustee meeting took place Tuesday night.

The outdoor dining section of the town code only pertains to street-level outdoor dining, says Northport town attorney, Stuart Besen.

“The outdoor dining code for Northport talks about the outdoor dining application process and only talks about sidewalk dining and one particular courtyard,” Besen said. “That is what it’s about; sidewalk dining and courtyard dining. Nothing to do with rooftops.”

The Gallowitschs have been planning their appeal process by going to higher-up courts, but realized that if the board says no, their dream is over.

“We are trying to continue through with the appeal through the Supreme Court,” Gallowitsch Jr. said. “But if the village votes in this new law to ban all outdoor dining for the town, then our Supreme Court case is useless at that point.”

The pub already has an outdoor dining section on the sidewalk on the side of the building. The Gallowitschs planned on moving those tables to the rooftop as compensation for the approval of the proposal.

Skipper’s is not the only restaurant in the town that may be affected. The Northport Feed and Grain restaurant, Rockin’ Fish and Bistro 44 all have outdoor dining for their respective establishments.

If the trustee board disapproves the rooftop dining for Skipper’s Pub, the board is going to change the law in regards to outdoor dining. Because of the change, these restaurants could also be affected as well.

A vote on this matter will likely be cast at the Mar. 21 town meeting.

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