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Islip orders vape shop to move off Main Street

The town zoning board rules that the store does not belong in Sayville's commercial district and has to vacate within a year and 99 days.

BlackWaterVapor in downtown Sayville has been ordered to

BlackWaterVapor in downtown Sayville has been ordered to relocate. Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

A Sayville vape shop can only stay on Main Street temporarily before it has to find a new home in an industrial district, Islip officials ruled.

The Islip Zoning Board of Appeals is giving BlackWaterVapor one year and 99 days before it needs to relocate because the store does not comply with the town's adult use law. 

The Main Street store, which opened in December 2015, faced legal limbo because of a zoning regulation Islip passed in May 2016 — after the shop was already up and running — that lumps vape stores and vape lounges in the same category as strip clubs, prohibiting them from operating in business districts and forcing them into industrial areas.

Representatives of the store went before the board during a Dec. 11 public hearing to determine if it could be allowed as a nonconforming use in a business district. 

Donald King, an attorney representing the vape shop's owner, said he will most likely file a civil lawsuit challenging the board's decision.

“It’s all utter nonsense,” King said Tuesday. “It’s a vape shop, not a porn store or a strip club. … They’re taking away business rights.”

King provided Newsday with materials mailed to his office last week stating the board’s 3-0 decision. BlackWaterVapor's application and files were reviewed by the board Feb. 12, according to the decision.

The board said although the vape shop proved it was operating as a business prior to the 2016 town regulation, the “adult use ordinance” passed in 1980 included language limiting those types of businesses from operating where they are not permitted.

The “Town Board placed a limit on the duration that a legal nonconforming adult use could be maintained in the Town,” according to the decision. “The minimum period of time was fixed at 1 year and 99 days. The maximum period of time was fixed at 5 years and 99 days.”

The board determined it would grant the store nonconforming use in a business district, but also “the subject property as a vape shop shall terminate one year and 99 days from the effective date of this decision.”

Islip officials could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

The adult use ordinance regulates “objectionable" businesses such as strip clubs.. The ordinance prohibits those businesses from being within 500 feet of churches, parks and homes.

Sayville resident Maureen Casaburi, who spoke against the vape shop during the Dec. 11 meeting, said Tuesday the board made the right decision.

Casaburi, who has two teenage sons, said vaporization stores do not belong in the hamlet’s commercial sector because vape products are dangerous and many teens use them.

“I find it disgusting. It’s like Philip Morris from 100 years ago,” Casaburi said. “I feel for them as business owners, but I feel their shop may even do better off of Main Street.”

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