The Supreme Court of the State of New York has upheld the Town of Hempstead’s decision to reject North Bellmore strip club owner Billy Dean’s cabaret application for a proposed Wantagh nightclub/restaurant on Sunrise Highway.
Dean’s suit against the town argued that the Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals should have never revoked its original June 2010 approval for cabaret usage on 3500 Sunrise Highway in Wantagh.
The zoning board decided last March to schedule a of Dean’s application under the name Green 2009, Inc. due to vocal that mounted against the development, as well as a belief that not enough people were notified of the original hearing date.
The suit also pointed out that the property has had cabaret usage for previously opened bars and restaurants going back to the late 60s.
Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Antonio Brandveen stated in his decision, “the record shows the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals reasonably considered all of the factors regarding the petitioner’s (Green 2009, Inc.) application for a special exception to use and weighed the petitioner’s interest against the interest of the locality and support its determination as required by law upon the considered presentations of the parties.”
In additional to upholding the Hempstead BZA’s cabaret denial, the court also determined that the zoning board was within its rights in reopening, scheduling and publicly noticing a new hearing for both the cabaret permit as well as parking space variances sought by Green 2009, Inc.
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Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray called the town’s success in defending the board of appeals decision, “a victory for Wantagh and Seaford neighbors who have fought to preserve the residential character of their neighborhood and the suburban nature of their community.”
The court’s decision against Dean comes in the midst of community that mounted against him because of fears he would operate his Wantagh similar to in North Bellmore, which is advertised on its website as "Long Island’s No. 1 strip club."
Billy Dean’s website provides a link with information that describes the planned Wantagh venue as one that will offer dinner entertainment with audience participation catering to bachelor, bachelorette and birthday parties. Dean his planned establishment during a May 18, 2011 zoning board hearing as one that would feature “a Las Vegas style feel” with jugglers, knife throwers and dancers.
“The Board of Appeals acted properly and professionally, listening to all of the evidence in its case prior to rendering a decision on the application of Green 2009, Inc.,” Murray said. “I applaud the court on its decision ... It was right on the law and right for the communities of Wantagh and Seaford.”
Dean, a Commack resident, acquired the 3500 Sunrise Highway property on the corner of Oakland Avenue in 2009 for $950,000.
Dean's attorney William Cohn said he plans to appeal the court's ruling to the state's Appellate Division, a process that could take up to six months.
"He has really been stigmatized," said Cohn of his client. "He did not do anything wrong because he was not given a chance to do anything wrong"
Dean had planned to speak at a North Bellmore Civic Association meeting Monday night about his North Bellmore establishment's cabaret application but instead Cohn attended the forum to address resident concerns. Wantagh residents who attended the North Bellmore meeting Monday expressed satisfaction on the court's ruling.
"It feels great," said Kathy Volz of the decision. "We have been working to stop it from coming for a year, passing out fliers and talking to the press."
"The community is thrilled with the decision to keep strip club owners from opening an establishment near our children," said Kevin Milano, who organized numerous protest rallies in front of 3500 Sunrise Highway.