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Rockville Centre officials plan to appeal court decision on Bonefish Grill restaurant

After sitting vacant for several years, the old

After sitting vacant for several years, the old Rockville Centre Twin Cinema was turned into a Bonefish Grill restaurant. Credit: Instagram

Rockville Centre officials plan to appeal a recent Nassau State Supreme Court decision that reversed the village zoning board's order that Bonefish Grill not open for lunch during the week and provide valet parking.

"This . . . decision of Judge [Steven M.] Jaeger, although wrong on the facts and the law, is not surprising," said village administrator Keith Spadaro, noting that the Bonefish lawyer in the case, Michael Zapson, was one of nine "honorary" chairmen for Jaeger's unsuccessful re-election campaign.

The village sought Jaeger's recusal, but he refused, saying he could be fair.

"The ultimate decision here will come from the impartial appellate courts, and the Village is confident that this decision will be overturned," Spadaro said in a statement.

In the Dec. 23 decision, Jaeger described the lunch-hour restrictions and valet requirements as arbitrary and capricious, and sent the case back to the Rockville Centre Board of Zoning Appeals.

Zapson said Jaeger's decision was "well thought out," and added that Bonefish has been and will be willing to work with the village on the issue.

The restaurant at the southwest corner of Sunrise Highway and Morris Avenue had been a vacant 700-seat movie theater. It received a conditional variance for parking from the zoning board on March 22, 2013, then the building itself on the following Oct. 11.

By March 2014, the restaurant was substantially completed, costing more than $1 million, Bonefish officials said in court papers.

That same month, the village told the restaurant it would not issue a certificate of occupancy because the site had not been completed in a timely manner. A new parking variance was also needed along with a newly enacted substantial occupancy permit for restaurants with more than 50 seats. Bonefish went to court.

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