Sag Harbor Village Board Puts Limits on Sen Outdoor Dining

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The outdoor dining area at Sen as seen on July 11, 2018. Christine Sampson photo

Following extensive renovations, Sen is once again welcoming diners with outdoor tables — four of them with two seats apiece, to be exact — despite co-owner Jesse Matsuoka’s attempt on Tuesday to lobby the Sag Harbor Village Board for one more table and a few more seats on the porch, which is larger than it was before the construction.

The board voted 5-0 to approve eight seats, not the 15 that Mr. Matsuoka sought, because it was concerned over space limitations and the possible stress that an additional seven seats would put on the already-tight parking conditions in the village.

The board struggled at first to understand how Sen captured more porch space. Mr. Matsuoka said an unused building entrance is now gone, creating more usable area.

However, according to building inspector Tom Preiato, calculations showed Sen could only have eight seats, but he said that was based on state building codes for indoor dining. He said the state building code regulating “unwalled” spaces was “vague.”

“I’m certainly open to bringing in … a design professional to weigh in on it,” Mr. Preiato said.

The board held a vote to be able to allow Mr. Matsuoka to have some outdoor seating right away. Trustee Ken O’Donnell, a former restaurant owner himself, moved to lower the seating request from 15 to eight because of parking.

“Congratulations on the reopening,” he told Mr. Matsuoka. “Realize this board is looking at a parking district. Let’s take a step back, catch our breath, hopefully you guys have an awesome season and hopefully we get this parking district up and can address this issue.”

Mr. Matsuoka said he’s just doing the best he can to run his business, and pointed out the many people looking for parking “are already here.”

“I’m just trying to feed them,” he said.

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