Strip club owner sues Hempstead BZA

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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Strip club owner Billy Dean has sued the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals for rescinding its original approval of a cabaret license for his property in Wantagh.

Dean and his company, Green 2009 Inc., filed the suit Tuesday in Nassau County Supreme Court against the board and its seven members. Dean is seeking to overturn the board's most recent action denying the license.

The board in June 2010 approved Dean's application for the cabaret at 3500 Sunrise Hwy., and construction began on the lot that Dean bought for $950,000. But after public opposition, the board denied the application in August. A cabaret license would allow Dean to have live music, dancing and entertainment at his planned Mile High Club, but not topless or nude entertainment.

"The decision to file a lawsuit was made because we felt that the decision in the 2011 case was erroneous and should be reversed," said William S. Cohn, an attorney for Dean.

Dean was "severely prejudiced by the reopening of the hearing," the lawsuit claims. "The BZA incorrectly based its decision solely on speculation and the general objections of the community members and with the support of numerous public officials."

Some nearby residents feared Dean, who owns Billy Dean's Showtime Cafe in Bellmore, which bills itself as "Long Island's Number 1 Strip Club," would do the same thing in Wantagh. Residents said a club would damage the area's character and quality of life as well as increase traffic and parking problems.

"We are not done as a community yet because even if he does win the cabaret appeal and open, we will be starting our neighborhood watch," said Kevin Milano of Wantagh who had organized protests outside the proposed cabaret. "We definitely have to keep our children safe."

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Hempstead Town spokesman Michael Deery said town officials had not reviewed the lawsuit, but plan to defend "vigorously" the decision of the board of appeals to deny the license.

"We strongly believe that the board of appeals were right in their decision," Deery said. "They did the right thing for the neighbors in Wantagh and Seaford. We also believe that this is the wrong location for a cabaret."

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