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Judge Rules L.I. Adult Booths a Violation

Long Island- A court magistrate has ruled that a Valley Stream adult store violated its agreement with the village when it built viewing booths. As a result, local officials can cite the store with breaking a law that bans certain businesses from being too close to schools, churches and residents.

“This type of business has no place in a suburban community, especially in such close proximity to schools and churches,” said Mayor Edward Cahill, adding that the village on Friday issued its first violation since the agreement was signed.

U.S. Magistrate E. Thomas Boyle in Central Islip issued the ruling.

An appeal is certain, Garden City lawyer John Kase said, noting that he was speaking for Paula Frome, who is handling the case for the store but was away in Florida.

“We’ll also fight any village citation,” Kase added.

In 1994, the village denied a mercantile license to Hempstead Video, at the southeast corner of Sunrise Highway and Rockaway Avenue, and issued it violations on a law established after the business opened.

The law said such a business could operate no closer than 1,000 feet of churches and schools or within 500 feet of a residential district. The store is within 300 feet of all three, village and school officials said.

Hempstead Video opened anyway in 1994 and sued Valley Stream, charging the village violated its constitutional right to free speech. But in 1996 the two sides settled and signed a stipulation that set parameters for its operation, including a ban on enclosed viewing booths.

Last year, the village learned that six such rooms, with lockable doors and paper towel dispensers, had been there since 1997. The village notified store management to remove them. They refused, arguing that 18 inches of open space at their tops meant they weren’t enclosed. About six months later, in June, management removed the doors. By then, it was too late.

“Code enforcement has already served the first summons … and will continue to serve them until the business ceases operations or relocates out of Valley Stream,” said Village Attorney Michael McKenna.

George Shebitz, the attorney for Valley Stream School District No. 24, which has its Brooklyn Elementary School near the store, said, “We support the village in its efforts in its entirety.”

 

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