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Community Rallies Against Planned Sunrise Highway Entertainment Facility

Protest held Sunday at Wantagh property bought by North Bellmore strip club owner that residents worry will feature adult acts.

Dozens of residents held a protest rally Sunday morning at the planned location of a new entertainment facility in Wantagh that many in the community worry will resemble a strip club.

The protest was held at 3500 Sunrise Hwy., a property that Billy Dean, owner the North Bellmore strip club , purchased last year to open a new entertainment complex. Dean Patch last November that he was not planning to have any adult entertainment at his new Wantagh business and it would instead be operated as a dinner club with “unique comedy acts.” However, many Wantagh residents are concerned that Dean will still be operating the business with adult entertainment similar to Billy Dean's Showtime Cafe. 

Last May the Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) granted Dean's request to have a special exception for public assembly and amusement on the Wantagh property, that was formerly home to Frank’s Steaks, including cabaret, live music, dancing and entertainment. Among the conditions in the Hempstead BZA's approval was that there be no nude entertainment and that no employees be topless or bottomless.

Protesters on Sunday did not take any comfort in the zoning board's conditions since while no nudity is allowed, G-Strings, pasties and other sexually provocative outfits and accessories can still be used when a cabaret license is granted. Residents at the rally call it simply, “irresponsible – and probably illegal zoning." People at the rally also pointed out how the facility is being constructed with no windows, which is indicative of the business being a strip club.

Spearheading the resistant effort against Dean's planned business is Wantagh resident Kevin Milano, who organized Sunday's rally.  A group of more than 20 adamant dissenters stood outside the construction site, informing all drivers that a strip club was being built.

“We go door to door, letting people know about this strip club and honestly, 95 percent of people had no idea that this strip club was being built," said Milano. "Do we residents have no say in what they put in our neighborhoods?” It’s all very suspicious to us.”

The business is slated to be open from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. and residents are worried not only about the over congestion of parking but also about a possible influx of alcohol, drugs and possibly even violence into their residential neighborhoods. Residents are also worried that, with such expansive hours, elementary, middle and high school aged students will be exposed to inappropriate surroundings. The property the business is being constructed on is located less than a mile from .

Dean did not return a call seeking comment about the protest. The Billy Dean's Showtime Cafe website describes the unnamed Wantagh facility as a "full service restaurant" that "will feature dinner and show theatrical production packages with various types of variety entertainment." The description of the planned business said the club will "cater to anniversary, birthday, bachelorette, bachelor parties or groups of friends looking for a new twist for an exciting evening."

Protesters expressed frustration at the rally that the permit for the business, which is still under construction , and clearly says "cabaret license" was taken down until after building inspections are complete. Residents also reported that fliers and anti-strip club materials were being removed all throughout Wantagh.

Sunday's rally was attended by Nassau County Legislators Dennis Dunne, Sr., R-Levittown and Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick. Denenberg sent a letter to the Hempstead BZA asking that they re-consider their decision to grant Dean the cabaret license because of fear that it will enable the business to turn into a strip club operation.

"The BZA must protect the quality of life and market values of the neighboring residential properties," said Denenberg in his letter to the zoning board. "The board cannot allow special exceptions and variances of code to the detriment of our residential neighborhoods."

Hempstead Town Councilwoman Angie Cullin, R-Freeport, whose district includes Wantagh,issued a statement saying that while the BZA is separate from the town board she opposes its decision. "I have spoken to the town building department and asked them to monitor this facility closely and ensure that no type of activities that violate the conditions of the Board of Appeals approval be tolerated," said Cullin. "Any violation would immediately provide for a reopening of the case and the revocation of their Board of Appeal’s approval...I will seek an immediate injunction to have the facility shut down if illicit or other activities that violate the terms of Billy Dean’s agreement  with the Board of Appeals occur."

Milano said another protest outside of 3500 Sunrise Hwy. is planned for this Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Andrew Coen contributed to this story.

michael feeney April 19, 2011 at 02:54 PM
To actually do something about this go to the web site http://townofhempstead.org/content/bz/formba.html, and file a hearing filing comment form online and oppose the Special exception and variance cases filed by Green 2009, inc. here are the case no. for the May 18 Board meeting..... 1418/10. - 1419/10. WANTAGH - Green 2009, Inc., Special exception to use premises for place of public assembly & amusement (cabaret, live music, dancing & entertainment); Variance in off-street parking with insufficient stall size & maneuvering (maintain additions & portico attached to building)., S/W cor Sunrise Hwy. & Oakland Ave., a/k/a 3500 Sunrise Hwy.
Mike Turner June 14, 2011 at 10:51 PM
All this drama over Boobs. Half of you have them yourselves. There will be no persons admitted under 21 years old, so no kids will be exposed to the evils of sexy loose women. Maybe you should turn all this energy onto the two drug paraphanalia stores open to your teen kids within yards of the train station. Your kids can buy drug themed clothes in a store that displays bongs openly, but you're worried about a sealed club that will be displaying nothing to the outside. I lived here for years before I even knew what BillyDeans was, THATS how lowkey they operate. Your idea of community is to be commended, you're entitled to your opinion, but I believe your focus would serve the community better fighting drugs in the neighborhood. BTW Didn't anyone hear about the heroin bust in McDonalds parking lot? Maybe you should ask questions about THAT instead of bothering the Boob man.
TOM June 14, 2011 at 11:50 PM
MIKE GREAT ARTICAL AS A LIFE LONG RESIDENT OF WANTAGH THE COMMUNITY FOCUS CHANGED A BIT PEOPLE ARE WORRIED ABOUT ONE CLUB WHEN THERE ARE ABOUT A DOZEN IN WANTAGH, PLUS THOSE HEAD SHOPS PARENTS WAKE UP. TAKE A DRIVE AROUND TOWN AFTER DARK AND SEE WHAT THE YOUNG ONES ARE UP TO.DON T GET TUNNEL VISION OVER ONE ISSUE .
Patrick June 25, 2011 at 01:48 AM
I am happy to see that people in this community have actually realized what some if the important issues are. Kevin Milano, the spearhead, has never once answered any questions related to the actual facts of this situation. He has ignored them in favor of blowing his own horn for his agenda. This agenda,by the way, was the idea of a politician up for re-election, whose district does not even include the area affected, and that same person spent the entire day of the rehearing neglecting his constituents, to get recognition. If this statement is not true, please rebuke. Kevin Milano reads all of the posts concerning this issue, and chooses not to respond, to me, or to anyone opposing his position. I call that cowardice. All he does is constantly restate unsubstantiated information that is supposed to support his innuendo. Not one fact. If this is not true, give us all a response, Kevin. This post will be copied on all articles regarding this issue so that no one can say the didn't see it, and havethe chance to respond.
Patrick October 13, 2011 at 06:34 PM
As I have stated from the beginning, the TOH/BZA is now on the receiving end of a lawsuit because of the rediculous situation that Kevin Milano and all of his minions have created. Way to go, now we call all expect pay for this. I bet all of the residents of the Town are really happy for this. And we all have Kevin to thank for that.

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