Judge has 60 days on cabaret license ruling

Christy Aceto of Wantagh protests outside the site Christy Aceto of Wantagh protests outside the site of the proposed "Billy Dean's Cabaret." (March 27, 2011) Photo Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

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A Nassau County Supreme Court judge has 60 days to decide whether the Town of Hempstead illegally withdrew its approval of strip club owner Billy Dean's proposed cabaret in Wantagh after neighborhood opposition.

Attorneys for Dean and his company, Green 2009 Inc., and the Hempstead Town Board of Appeals submitted written arguments to Judge Antonio Brandveen Wednesday. They opted out of having an open court hearing on Dean's lawsuit against the appeals board for denying a cabaret license for his property at 3500 Sunrise Hwy.

"Hopefully, this will go in our favor and this will go away," said community advocate Kevin Milano of Wantagh, who gathered with about a dozen residents outside the hearing.

Milano and others in the residential areas near the cabaret site have opposed it as unsuitable for the location.

Dean sued the appeals board and its seven members in October, seeking to overturn the board's action. In June 2010, the board approved Dean's application for the cabaret, and construction began on the lot that Dean bought for $950,000.

After public opposition, the board in August denied the license. Dean's attorneys argued the appeals board incorrectly based its decision on speculation and objections from community members and public officials.

The license would allow Dean to have live music, dancing and entertainment at his planned Mile High Club with a "Las Vegas Style" concept, but not topless or nude entertainment.

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The appeals board argued that the type of business, the owner's reputation for providing adult entertainment elsewhere, and the need to protect the area's character and quality of life led to the decision to override its earlier approval.

"I am confident that outspoken civic involvement resulted in the withdrawal of the cabaret license, which should be upheld on appeal," said Nassau County Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), who represents the area.

Billy Dean's other property, the Showtime Cafe in North Bellmore, which bills itself as "Long Island's Number 1 Strip Club," is seeking to renew its cabaret permit and parking variances, which expire March 28. The appeals board first granted the cabaret permit in 1993 and it was renewed for five-year periods.

Dean's company submitted its applications for the Bellmore club to the town's building department on Monday, Hempstead spokesman Michael Deery said. The department will inspect the club and then forward the application to the appeals board to hold a public hearing, he said. All cabaret permit requests require a hearing.

"The building department would conduct an inspection for safety and compliance purposes," Deery said.

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