At Smuggler Jack's in Massapequa, officials say, owners are trying to comply with noise reduction terms


Smuggler Jack's restaurant in Massapequa is shown on July 10, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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Oyster Bay officials say a Massapequa restaurant and bar that generated fury over noise and traffic is trying to comply with the terms of a court stipulation. Neighbors, however, say that problems emanating from Smuggler Jack's on Forest Avenue haven't improved.

The case was due in State Supreme Court in Nassau County last week but was adjourned until Aug. 14.

The court stipulation requires the restaurant to comply with town occupancy requirements; not to play music outdoors or when the doors are open; and to stop serving and seating people outdoors late at night. Those hours differ whether it's a weekend or weeknight.

"When it becomes clear to us we cannot obtain compliance, then we move legally to shutter the business -- we're not quite there yet with Smuggler Jack's," Supervisor John Venditto said. "We have seen efforts on the part of the business operator to come into compliance, [but] obviously not 100 percent."

Venditto said that on Friday town code enforcers observed the restaurant operating beyond its capacity of 72 people.

However, attorney Edward Ross of Garden City-based Rosenberg Calica & Birney LLP, who represents Smuggler Jack's and its owner, Noel Cannon, said the town has overreached.

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"My client has been operating in good faith under this stipulation, but he's still being unlawfully and specifically targeted," Ross said.

Ross said that the restaurant has implemented valet parking and any continuing complaints by residents "are greatly exaggerated."

"There's little if any noise after hours," Ross said.

Records show that residents began complaining shortly after the restaurant opened last year.

Nassau police reported that, from June 2013 to July 21, 2014, they received 49 calls at or near the restaurant. Most of those -- 34 -- were identified as noise complaints, and all but three of the noise complaints were in 2013. Other complaints included fighting, driving or boating while intoxicated, vehicle lights shinning into people's windows and boat noise.

But residents say noise and parking at the restaurant are still problems.

"You sit out on your backyard, you can still hear it," said James Busch, 64, whose backyard is directly across a canal from the restaurant. "It's not a nice, peaceful quiet like we used to have."Another resident, John Bonamassa, 63, said patrons' cars continue to create parking problems on surrounding streets. "We don't have our own parking anymore," Bonamassa said. "I might as well live back in Queens."

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