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Babylon Village extends moratorium on opening new restaurants

The ban prohibits new eateries from opening except in spaces previously occupied by restaurants, until impact of theater on parking is determined.

The Argyle Theater at Babylon Village is expected

The Argyle Theater at Babylon Village is expected to open in March at the site of a former movie theater, seen here on Dec. 29, 2016. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Babylon Village is extending a partial moratorium on new restaurants until the end of 2018.

The village board of trustees voted 5-0 at its December meeting to prolong the policy that prohibits new eateries from opening except in spaces previously occupied by restaurants.

The board first approved the yearlong moratorium in January 2017. The trustees decided to continue it for the coming year, in part because of concerns about the impact that a performing arts venue opening this year will have on parking downtown, Mayor Ralph Scordino said.

The Argyle Theater at Babylon Village is expected to open in March 2018, according to Mark and Dylan Perlman, the father-son duo behind the venue.

The theater originally opened as a cinema in 1922, but has been closed since 2014, the Perlmans said. Once reopened, it will serve as a year-round professional venue for musicals, plays and other performance arts, with seating for about 500 people, they said.

“We want to see it in full swing first before we can see how the impact is going to be,” Scordino said of the theater.

Jacqueline DiDonato, president of the Babylon Village Chamber of Commerce, said the moratorium will help the village strike a balance between different types of businesses downtown.

“It’s not so much that we have too many restaurants,” said DiDonato, who supports the moratorium. “It’s that we don’t have enough retail. And without retail, you don’t have enough walking in the village,” which brings customers to other businesses, she said.

Scordino said the village has about 30 operating restaurants.

“It’s a big asset,” he said of the village’s lively culinary scene.

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