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Opponents of Billy Dean's Wantagh Development Hire Attorney For Legal Fight

Newly formed group raising funds in preparation for May 18 zoning board rehearing of cabaret application at property owned by North Bellmore strip club operator.

Opponents of a planned Wantagh entertainment club who fear it will become a center of adult entertainment once opened are now gearing up for a legal fight.

A newly formed group called “Wantagh-Seaford Protect Our Children and Preserve Our Community” has hired Chris Benes as its attorney to fight against Billy Dean’s development on 3500 Sunrise Hwy. at the corner of Oakland Avenue. Benes, who is with the Westbury-based firm Gold, Stewart & Benes, LLP, also represented the Bellmore Preservation Group in its fight against a proposed next to a residential street.

Dean owns a strip club in North Bellmore called Billy Dean’s Showtime Café and opponents of his business slated for Wantagh believe it will also resemble adult entertainment and thus bring wreak havoc in a residential community with traffic as well as bringing down property values. Opponents cite the current contruction as not having windows as being one indication that the business will offer adult entertainment.

The Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals approved a cabaret permit to Dean last May for 3500 Sunrise Highway, which formerly housed Frank’s Steaks and has been the home to various bars over the years. However after protests against Dean’s plans for the property with many saying they were not notified of the issue last year, the Hempstead BZA scheduled a of Dean’s cabaret application for May 18.

Opponents of a strip club in Wantagh held a strategy meeting at to discuss fundraising to fight Dean's cabaret application. Wantagh resident Kevin Milano, who has organized protests at 3500 Sunrise Highway in recent weeks, said about $10,000-$12,000 needs to be  raised for legal expenses and any funds that are leftover from their fight will be donated to local PTA organizations.

“The community is really up in arms over this,” said Milano. “We’re going to go all the way with this.”

Milano said he is not sure if "Wantagh-Seaford Protect Our Children and Preserve Our Community” will need to register as a 501(c)3 organization to raise its funds but will be prepared to do so if necessary.

Ella Stevens, president of the , said the civic group would be opposed to a strip club in their community. “The Wantagh-Seaford Homeowners would not want a strip club if that is what it’s going to be,” said Stevens.

Dean’s attorney Bill Cohn of Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo, Cohn & Terrana, LLP in Uniondale said they are going to try and set up a meeting with neighbors who have concerns about what is planned for the property prior to the May 18 hearing. Cohn declined to comment on the specifics of his client's case.

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.”

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."

The Hempstead BZA granted Dean’s cabaret license on the condition that there be no nude entertainment and that no employees be topless or bottomless. However a cabaret license still allows for use of G-Strings, pasties and other sexually provocative outfits and accessories that would resemble a strip club.

Opponents of Dean’s development have set up a facebook page called "No Strip Club In Wantagh" as a way to get the word out to the community. Milano said another protest at 3500 Sunrise Highway is planned for this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. He said the protests will continue until it is certain that a strip club will not be operating in his community.

“We’re going to continue [the protests] until it is absolutely official that his cabaret license is revoked,” said Milano. “If he keeps his cabaret license and opens we’re going to continue in our protest."

Kevin April 17, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Thanks to our community the word has reached almost everyone. We still need to keep up the fight and notify the few who are not aware of the Strip Club. Also make sure to show up on May 18th at Town Hall 9:30 am for the Zoning Hearing. Everyone is invited even those (which I will never understand) who want a Strip Club near our kids. Thanks again and we are still waiting for the Homeowners Association to schedule a meeting to discuss this major community issue.
This one time..... April 17, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Is there anyway to get her off that committee or to step down? She obviously does not have the best interest of the community at heart or is it that if its not on her corner then its ok!
Lou April 17, 2011 at 05:48 PM
I was interested in joining the Homeowners Asso. but since this letter came about I have a change of heart
Thomas April 17, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Everyone should join the homeowners association. Once in vote those responsible out.
Jean Lyon April 27, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Great idea! Not enough Wantagh and Seaford citizens belong. It is one way of overseeing what is going on in the community and a large membership carries more clout when it comes to town and county issues that affect Wantagh and Seaford. I belong because I own a home in Wantagh even though I live out of state. I understand Dave Denenberg is fighting against this proposed "cabaret". Where is Dennis Dunne????
Patrick April 30, 2011 at 12:09 AM
Will there be a protest tomorrow morning?
Lou May 02, 2011 at 07:27 PM
The eyesore has yet to blossom. For someone who is so proud of where she lives by calling herself Seaford Sally,you might want to rethink what the heck you are talking about. Come on down on the 18th of May to voice your opinion and let your neighbors see who will want to bring the neighborhood down on any level. I just can't understand why people would not object to this kind of business so close to neighborhoods. It should be in a industrial area where no one would be affected. First off did you come to a meeting to see how many cranky seniors were in attendance. And who are you to call the seniors cranky, you will be a senior one day , if you are not one already . I myself don't live near Sunrise but do reside in Wantagh and I do object to this type of business in our town and I will be there on the 18th to stand together with other residents who think the same way. We should all take example from the people of Merrick who fight for everything to keep their town pristine.
Kevin May 02, 2011 at 07:27 PM
I don't even know how to respond to such a comment. No one in a residential area has to be subjected to a Strip Club. Our Zoning Board has the responsiblity to see that Zoning is proper. The building is within feet of residents. The Zoning Board had to change (or give variences) to this Strip Club business and disregard zoning laws to allow this business in ,which they did. The people of Wantagh and Seaford ,even near Sunrise Highway, thought our Representatives would watch out for us and obey zoning laws. The only thing I can think is Sally is a plant from the other side trying to make it seem like Seaford,if that's where she is from, wants a Strip Club. I know that is not true. Sally, I invite you to join us to stop this Strip Club but if not you certainly can support it.
frank May 02, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Give me a break I live behind Deans in N Bellmore which is located across the street from a school. I have lived here for 10 years and I have never had any problem from the customers or the club. So lets get off our high horse and face the facts we are adults and we should not fall into some BS trap that its wrong to have entertainment however tasteless it is left to the mob mentality.
Lou May 02, 2011 at 10:28 PM
I think Sally moved to N Bellmore
Kevin May 02, 2011 at 11:40 PM
"Mob Mentality" Isn't that what Billy Dean's lawyer Mr. Cohn said about our communities. I'm sure Frank is another plant for Billy Dean or maybe it's his attorney. Frank should be fighting to keep Billy Deans in his neighborhood if he feels that strongly about it. Although I know Bellmore doesn't want it there either and that may be why we hear he is losing his lease. How he was able to open in Bellmore is mind boggling to begin with. Although there are no houses in direct contact like the Wantagh address and he has enough parking, which he doesn't in Wantagh and the capacity is less than in Wantagh. But I'm sure all the violations that Frank doesn't know about will magically disappear when Billy Dean and Rori Gordon move their Strip Club to Wantagh. Community members of Wantagh/Seaford/Bellmore the other side is pulling out all the stops now. They are actually trying to convince us that the communities of Wantagh/Seaford/Bellmore want a Strip Club. They must think we are idiots.
Patrick May 03, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Plant here, conspiracy there, violations in Bellmore that no one knows about. BZA disregarding zoning laws? These are the rantings of the uninformed. The fact still stands that the BZA did absolutely nothing wrong in granting these permits. It is not your representatives job to tell you what is going on in your neighborhood, it is your responsibility, and no one elses. It is not the responsibility of the WSHA to tell you what is going on in your neighborhood, it is your responsibility as a local resident. It is not the TOH responsibility to police what happens in your small part of the town, it is yours and only yours. There is no great conspiracy here, please stop making statements that are completely untrue, it only makes you look that much more uninformed. Also, when you and your five other protesters, stand on Sunrise Hwy, it is you who are creating a very dangerous situation, as I was unable to see the oncoming traffic at the corner. The truck was bad enough, but the people standing on the road and the sidewalk made it that much worse. The elderly woman that was holding one of the signs probably does not have the reflexes to get out of the way of a vehicle. Protest all you want, but please do it safely, and think about the rest of the people in the town rather than only yourselves for once.
Serendipity May 17, 2011 at 01:32 PM
For those NOT IN THE KNOW, this is how strip club owners operate. They apply for a "Cabaret Lisence" saying in the application and at public hearings there are not going to be a strip club or have nudity or sex shows. Then once they get the permits and open the doors, everything changes and the clothes come off. Once they are operating, any protest or legal action against them is challenged using "First Amendment" rights and Freedom of Expression. Good Luck, you'll need it against this Gordon character.
Dawn July 01, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Don't you people have other things to worry about, your making a big deal over a strip club, who cares as long as your not in there then why does it bother you.....worry about other important things like our childrens schools, the budget, how to lower taxes, yeah protest for that instead of standing out there with signs to stop building the club, how pathetic are you.......
Kevin July 01, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Oh my God! Comparing these issues with a Strip Club makes no sense unless you are being paid by and/or are a friend of Billy Deans. It may even be another person using the name Dawn. We (our communities) think we have great schools, usually vote Yes for the budget and pay our taxes. If Dawn is a product of our schools than I am worried. Please tell us Dawn lives in a different county. Talk about pathetic.
Patrick July 02, 2011 at 01:46 AM
Or garnering favors from a politician, Kevin, or whoever you are. This is priceless. Out of sight, out of mind. Absolutely priceless.

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