The father and son trying to reopen Babylon Village’s shuttered Main Street movie theater as a performing arts center say they will bring Broadway-caliber shows to the area.
But neighbors fear the $2.5 million proposal could bring traffic, parking problems and late-night noise.
“This neighborhood is already abused,” South Carll Avenue resident Valerie Basile said at a Village Board hearing on the proposal Tuesday night.
“If done correctly, I think this will be a wonderful asset; otherwise, I think we’ll have a lot of problems,” Brendan Roig, who lives on Prospect Street, said.
Seaford residents Mark Perlman and son Dylan are seeking village approvals to open a 450-seat renovated space next year at 34 W. Main St., where they would put on six main stage plays or musicals a year along with occasional concerts, comedy acts and children’s programming. As many as 24 shows a year would start at midnight and end around 2 a.m.
A parking report commissioned by the Perlmans found ample room in nearby lots and on-street spaces for patrons and theater employees.
The Babylon Town Industrial Development Agency would offer tax abatements to the center of as much as $356,800 over the next 12 years — savings that the Perlmans’ attorney, Garden City-based Diana Prevete, of Albanese & Albanese, said Tuesday is needed to make the project viable. The village would forgo $20,655 in property tax payments during that time.
Prevete said Tuesday that the performing arts center could bring jobs and business into the village that would more than make up for tax breaks. The Perlmans said their shows would be as they described them.
“We are not looking to bring in wild and crazy acts,” Mark Perlman said.
But the concerns from residents could force the pair to change parts of their business plan.
The neighborhood south of Main Street already absorbs overflow traffic and parking from the bars and restaurants of the downtown business district. Residents asked for protections against what they said could be a flood of theater patrons looking for on-street parking on show nights. They also sought to curtail the theater’s operating hours.
The board is not likely to vote on the approvals and possible restrictions until September, but trustee Mary Adams and Mayor Ralph Scordino indicated they were uneasy with late night acts at the center.
“My mother always told me, ‘Nothing really good happens after 12 at night,’ ” Scordino said.