Written by Betsy Abraham Friday, 10 May 2013 00:00
It looks like Avanti Nightclub’s doors will be closed at least a little bit longer, as the village board considers whether or not to grant them a special use permit. The Latin dance club, located at 272 Post Ave., has been closed since a month ago, when their special use permit was revoked after they violated several conditions.
In early April, the board refused to renew the club’s special use permit, stating that they had violated several conditions. One in particular was a hot topic for debate during last Thursday’s village meeting. At April’s meeting, the mayor accused Avanti of advertising events of a sexual nature that were in direct violation of their permit. Club owner Barry Ceriano continued to deny knowing anything about the ads, saying he was unaware that the singles night was being inaccurately portrayed as a swinger-type event.
And while such sexual activities may not have ever taken place at Avanti, the advertising itself is a violation of the code.
“The board is not making a moral judgment about that type of activity. I grant you that none of the things that were advertised took place, but it was advertised and that’s one of the reasons the permit was rescinded,” Cavallaro said. “It’s a violation of the zoning code and his condition.”
Avanti’s lawyer, Sherman Jackson denied any such violations. He said that the club has now drawn up a contract to present all future promoters, to avoid any more miscommunications. Before, club management just had a verbal agreement with the promoter on what was expected and allowed. According to Jackson, now promoters will face penalties if conditions are not met.
However, the contract was the least of Cavallaro’s concern.
“I don’t care about the contract. I care about your commitment to know what the conditions are and that you know you have a responsibility to the community,” Cavallaro said.
Cavallaro also pointed out the board’s irritation that Avanti had scheduled an event for the night after the board meeting, without knowing for sure whether or not their permit would be renewed.
“For you to operate in advance of this hearing that your club was going to be open tomorrow night, not knowing how this board was going to act is quite perplexing and reflects upon your credibility,” Cavallaro said. “It was imprudent and causes serious concern about your candor and sincerity in terms of this process.”
The violation of the advertising was only one of several reasons the board had rescinded Avanti’s special use permit. The club has installed a new double door, which they hope will prevent any noise violations and complaints. Another point of violation was that the club had failed to report certain police incidents. Avanti operating manager said that the leadership was under the impression that the village only had to be notified if a police call reported in a summons.
He said that the club would now have a log book where every police incident and interaction would be recorded and reported to the village.
Westbury residents and club patrons had a lot to say at the meeting. Nick Martone, who lives next to the nightclub and has previously complained about the noise, presented a petition signed by neighbors asking the village not to renew the permit.
“Why’d they wait two years to go ahead and install a door? The club knew there was an issue with the noise. Why wasn’t it resolved after the first year? I think it’s a little too late and it’s a big problem,” his son Lou said.
“Me and my fiancé have been to Avanti about a dozen times. We’ve never had a negative experience or a problem. We just go there to dance, it’s really such a comfortable place. We hope it stays,” one East Meadow man said. “But sometimes people need a wake up call to run the place in the right way.”
At the end of the meeting, the board decided to take the decision under advisement. Cavallaro said that the board would try to expedite the process, as Avanti has been losing significant revenue and employees since closing, but assured club management that if the permit was granted, there would be strict conditions.