Court upholds Wantagh cabaret permit denial

A State Supreme Court justice has upheld the

A State Supreme Court justice has upheld the decision by the Hempstead Town Board of Appeals to deny strip-club owner Billy Dean's application for a cabaret permit at his proposed Wantagh nightclub and restaurant. (Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa, 2011)

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A State Supreme Court justice has upheld the decision by the Hempstead Town Board of Appeals to deny strip-club owner Billy Dean's application for a cabaret permit at his proposed Wantagh nightclub and restaurant.

Justice Antonio Brandveen dismissed on Monday the petition from Dean and his company, Green 2009 Inc. Brandveen had up to 60 days from March 14 to make a decision.

Brandveen wrote that the court could not conclude that the town's denial of Dean's application "was either an abuse of discretion, irrational or based upon generalized community objections under these circumstances."

Dean sued the appeals board and its seven members in October for denying the cabaret license for his property at 3500 Sunrise Hwy. in Wantagh. Dean cited the board's initial approval of the cabaret application in June 2010, and subsequent construction he began on the lot he bought for $950,000.

After public opposition, the board denied the application in August. The license would have allowed Dean to have live music, dancing and entertainment at his planned Mile High Club with a "Las Vegas Style" feel, but not topless or nude entertainment.

"I applaud the decision of the court," town Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement. "This is the wrong location for a cabaret, considering its proximity to local homes, as well as the increased traffic, noise, parking congestion and other issues that accompany such businesses."

The court also determined the board was within its rights in reopening and scheduling a new hearing.

"The whole community is thrilled," said Kevin Milano, of Wantagh, who organized protests outside the proposed Wantagh cabaret. "The bottom line is that the court upheld the decision that prevented two strip-club owners from opening an establishment near our children."

Dean's Uniondale attorney William Cohn said he plans to fight the court's ruling.

"There will be an appeal to the Supreme Court Appellate Division to overturn that decision and allow our clients to operate their business at the Wantagh location," Cohn said.

The court's decision comes as Dean is making his case for another five-year renewal of the cabaret permit and off-street parking variance for his Showtime Cafe in North Bellmore, which bills itself as "Long Island's Number 1 Strip Club." The hearing is scheduled for May 23 at 2 p.m.

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