Wantagh residents protest cabaret site

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Dozens of Wantagh residents Sunday protested the planned opening of a cabaret that they believe could be made into a strip club.

Last June, the Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals approved an application for the site, at 3500 Sunrise Hwy., for a cabaret license with restrictions that there be no topless, bottomless or nude entertainment in the venue.

But resident and organizer Kevin Milano, 54, of Wantagh, said he and others protesting outside the site are concerned the owners, who also operate a strip club in Bellmore, Billy Dean's Showtime Cafe, will do the same in Wantagh.

Nassau Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), who was at the protest, vowed, "This is not something that is going to happen here." He issued copies of a letter to the zoning appeals board, dated March 23, in which he said the owners could get around the application's condition if "entertainers are scantily clad and perform private dances."

The building, currently under construction, is located feet from homes. According to state records, the building owner is Green 2009 Inc. Rori Gordon, the chief executive, is listed on the company website as a partner of Billy Dean, owner of the Bellmore strip club. Neither Gordon nor Dean returned calls.

Residents, some with children in tow, held up signs. Jodie Lambo, 31, a mother of two young children, said she moved to Wantagh from Brooklyn two years ago because of the schools and the community. If a strip club opens, Lambo said she'd sell her house.

"I'm livid. I think it's disgusting," said Lambo. "What are my taxes for? I pay $10,500 a year in taxes to live here. You gotta give me a nice a community."

Town law prohibits adult entertainment venues to be located within 500 feet of residential neighborhoods and schools.

A Hempstead Town spokesman, Mike Deery, said the zoning appeals board doesn't comment on its decisions. There was a public hearing in April, he said.

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