Owner defends Westbury nightclub

Avanti Night Club was recently shut down after Avanti Night Club was recently shut down after it violated its permit, according to the village of Westbury. (April 30, 2013) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

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Owners of a Post Avenue nightclub in Westbury have announced plans to press on with efforts to maintain their venue as a cabaret bar, after village officials put off action on their application to renew a special-use permit.

Mayor Peter Cavallaro, after Thursday's public hearing, said the board might rule within the next few weeks on the application from the Avanti Night Club.

The village board effectively shut down the club last month when it voted not to renew the club's special-use permit, citing police calls from neighbors and noise and garbage complaints.

At the meeting, Cavallaro described an online advertisement that he said promoted a "swingers' party." The ad, which the village provided to Newsday, contained the phrases "Start Your Sexual Revolution" and "Swing Life Style."

Club management denied that such an event was held there and said the owner was unaware a promoter had advertised that way.

Cavallaro said the club violated an "adult uses" covenant, but club representatives denied any sex acts took place during events.

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Cavallaro said the advertisement was just one violation. He said club officials also failed to notify the village when police responded to complaints.

The manager, Gennaro Tallarico, said the advertisements were "in poor taste," but they did not signal that the club was becoming an "adult cabaret."

"Unfortunately, that's the nature of how nightclubs advertise; what really happens and the message that we send out there are really two different things."

At times, Cavallaro and the club's attorney openly clashed. "It was a promoter that he could not control," said the attorney, Sherman Jackson, of owner Barry Ceriano.

"He is the person in control of the premises," Cavallaro countered.

Cavallaro added: "The law is clear, adult uses are permitted in the village in certain areas; they're not permitted in the establishment that he's operating."

The club said it recently installed a soundproof door and a foyer, in the rear entrance.

Several club patrons testified on behalf of Avanti.

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But residents, some wary because a new performing arts center is set to open across the street, raised concerns about noise and traffic on Post.

"On a Friday night, I can't drive down Post Avenue," said Ellen Hurwitch, 58. But, "If it's run properly, it's fine."

After the hearing, Cavallaro said the board is "cognizant of the rights he [Ceriano] has as a business owner" and will take them into account when deciding on the new permit, which if approved, he said, would probably be stricter.

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