NEW SHOREHAM — After a contentious summer of issues related to brawls, crowding, and underage drinking, Ballard’s Beach Resort was ordered to remove several outdoor structures this week.
In a letter to owner Steven Filippi from Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council postmarked Tuesday, Ballard’s was ordered to deconstruct its tiki bar, a stage, canopies, fencing, and a pergola on the property — all of which the state deemed “unauthorized.”
Ballard’s must remove these temporary structures by Nov. 9, according to the letter, which was obtained by the Globe Wednesday.
Kimberly Poland, a spokeswoman for Ballard’s, said Thursday afternoon that the company would not be commenting at this time.
Filippi, whose family has owned Ballard’s since the 1950s, is a member of the New Shoreham Zoning Board and is running unopposed for town council. While this notice may force Ballard’s to remove these outdoor items in the long-term, the Block Island resort closed for the season earlier this week. This demand from CRMC did not disrupt the business while it was operating during their summer season.
Under state regulations, any construction, grading, or filling activities or other alterations within 200 feet of tidal waters or coastal ponds requires plans for the proposed work be submitted to the CRMC for review, evaluation, and comment prior to construction.
“Failure to comply with this order shall be in violation of a duly adopted Council regulation, and shall be followed by the issuance of a Cease and Desist Order which shall be registered in the land evidence records for the above property,” read the letter signed by Laura Miguel, CRMC’s acting deputy director.
Laura Dwyer, a spokeswoman for the CRMC, could not be immediately reached for questions related to the timing of the letter on Thursday. However, on Wednesday, she confirmed that the CRMC did send this letter to Filippi by mail. It’s unclear if Filippi has received the letter, but Block Island residents and businesses were already circulating the letter on Facebook groups by Wednesday afternoon.
The popular inn, restaurant, and bar on Block Island has faced mounting backlash after incidents that took place on Aug. 8 when the business held a reggae festival, accompanied by overcrowding and rowdiness. Videos of brawls breaking out circulated online and as a result, Ballard’s liquor and entertainment licenses were suspended for two weeks by the town’s liquor licensing board — which happens to be made up of the Block Island Town Council members. The members never went into an executive session at the meeting before they told Filippi that his licenses would be suspended.
But Ballard’s won its appeal with the state in late August after being shut down for a little over 24 hours.
Yet the incidents on Aug. 8 were not the only ones at Ballard’s this summer. Town records show that there have been more than four dozen calls to the police and fire departments regarding intoxication and rowdiness at the venue since May 1.