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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.

Dina March 28, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Is there a meeting on Tuesday evening at Wantagh H.S. to discuss this issue? If so, wouldn't the owner want to advertise his new business to prospective customers in the area so he can be profitable? With no "Coming Soon" sign, no windows and no advertising, the answer is obvious; he couldn't care less about children in a family based neighborhood, so my crystal ball forecasts multiple problems for him. The Supv office and Buildings Department should be prepared for a major investigation to ensure all integrity was followed when they grante d the permit.
Jon March 28, 2011 at 04:44 PM
So I am confused here. The owner is indicating they are not having any "adult entertainment" and it will be a comedy club? Sounds like another Govenors up in Levittown. Or is the general public of Wantagh left with to much free time on their hands and needs to find something to do on the weekend? Hopefully Kevin Milano doesn't get sued for false statements when he tells the locals that a strip club is being built.
Andrew Coen March 28, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Dina, there is a Wantagh/Seaford Homeowner's Association meeting scheduled for tomorrow evening at Wantagh High School http://patch.com/E-dVY1 but am not sure if this issue will be discussed or not.
katie mac March 28, 2011 at 06:12 PM
No Jon, this isn't a comedy club otherwise he would bill it as that. It's a strip club, don't be so nieve. You probably work for the perv
Jon March 28, 2011 at 07:35 PM
Actually the owner has billed it as a comedy venue. A cabaret license is a umbrella term that is applied to businesses that permit patron dancing in connection with a restaurant business (ie essentially Dave & Busters could apply for a cabaret license and qualify, but also qualifies under more liberal licenses). Seems rather harsh, and extremely short sighted, for Mr. Milano and his lynch mob to go around and state that the zoning is probably illegal, and this is going to be a strip club, when all initial indications show otherwise. If anything proved to be inappropriate, this would be a zoning board issue more than anything else. Lets just hope Mr. Milano isn't setting himself up for a huge embarrassment when this doesn't turn out to be a strip club.
Kathy Volz March 29, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Yes, there is a Wantagh Homeowner's meeting which we be attending Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.. Bring your signs. Check www.billydeans.com lower half of page -GUYS GET YOUR FREE LAP DANCES COMING SOON to 3500 Sunrise Highway, Wantagh and MEN of Color - the sexiest black male exotic dancers on Long Island, etc. This establishment will be open until 4 a.m. and only has four parking spaces, no assigned handicapped parking spaces, no windows (fire hazard), no handicapped ramp or elevator required by CODE when you modify an existing building. Also, this CABARET is illegally located within 500 feet of residential area. Where are you ANGIE CULLIN? Reverse the Zoning Board of Appeals decision. No one has been able to contact the owner. Kathy
Kathy Volz March 29, 2011 at 12:39 AM
It will definitely be discussed. Bring your friends and neighbors. There is no where that says it will be a COMEDY CLUB. Why will it be open until 4 a..m.? Angie Cullin, do you want to live next to this CABARET and hear all the outside noise at 4 a.m. when your Approved CABARET closes or do you have to get up for work at 4 a.m.? We already have a list of VIOLATIONS from the Zoning Board of Appeals. We don't want our tax money spent monitoring the conditions that must be met - the police and town inspectors are needed for other work. Close it now. Marie
Dina March 29, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Angie Cullen and Kate Murray need to explain one thing: Who granted this special exemption and why did they think it was a benefit to Wantagh. On appearance, this looks like a bribe situation. Do we have an attorney lined up to combat those we are paying to represent us? A state comptroller's audit of TOH decisions is always nice for somebody looking to run for high office and get headlines. I am sure there are a few who are feasting on the thought of exploiting this bonehead move by the Supv Office.
TOM March 30, 2011 at 11:54 AM
MAYBE IT WILL GIVE THE BOYS FROM THE 7TH SOMETHING TO DO.
anthony gentile March 31, 2011 at 06:24 PM
@Jon Billy Deans is advertisingm that it will be for all types of parties. They mention Bachlor parties and Bachlorette parties. I am sure the entertainment will not be magicians and comedians. Bottom line is this: If a man such as the one who owns Billy Deans, who make smoney off of the abuse and exploitation of girls, makes a statement about something, I would truast is as far as I could throw him. We need to stop this now.
Luke April 15, 2011 at 01:24 AM
With all due respect, sir, it was very disrespectful of you to call the residents of Wantagh, Mr.Milano's "lynch mob". It's obvious these people are fighting to protect their town and families from being exposed to something we all can admit is inappropriate in a residential area. Therefore, either way this situation will never be a "huge embarrassment" for Mr.Milano. Him and the town are doing a noble thing by standing up for what they believe in even when people such as yourself try to put them down or even threaten them with being sued for protecting his family and town. It is clear that you have no sense of integrity if you are not able to agree with that. Very Respectfully, Luke “Integrity can be neither lost nor concealed nor faked nor quenched nor artificially come by nor outlived, nor, I believe, in the long run, denied” -Eudora Welty (American Novelist).
Bruce Milano April 15, 2011 at 10:57 AM
Well said Luke, and to be honest, when a person starts talking about sueing, they are obviously falling back on an argument that they can only make using our corrupt and worthless litigation system.
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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