A large crowd turned out for Monday night's Village Hall meeting concerning a request for RMS Lounges, LCC at 356 Conklin Street.
After long deliberation, the voted 3-2 to deny the special use permit to would have allowed the lounge to sell alcohol on site.
The public hearing consisted of the revision of the special use permit for the hookah lounge, , to allow alcohol consumption on the property.
Owners Mag and Maurice Eldeiry had originally been cited for building violations, including an erected gazebo on site as well as liquor law violations, allowing customers to "BYOB" (bring your own beer).
Tom Abbate, representative for the Eldeiry's, said allowing alcohol on site would to similar to that of what Jim's Stogies on Main Street already offers and that offering alcohol at the lounge would only be "fulfilling an itch."
"If Jim's Stogies can do it for people my age, why can't Mystique Gardens do it for people of their age?," he said. "This is a not a deviation. This is a not a departure from that which already exists in the village."
Abbate says the reason for the change from the original plan that did not include the sale of alcoholic beverages on site has changed the enterprise is no longer profitable.
Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said his main concerns about the permit was the possibility of underage drinking at the establishment which allows patrons, age 19, to enter with an ID.
"I was 19 too. The kids have ingenious way of smuggling stuff into an establishment," he said.
Farmingdale resident, Joe Diruno, agreed with the Mayor.
"I have no objection with these gentleman having a bar or a drinking capability. My objection is they can't create a paradox. They can't have drinking and 19-year-olds. They have to have 21-year-olds if they want drinking," he said.
The majority of those in attendance were outraged by the proposed permit. Resident Kathy Giannotta said serving alcohol at the lounge would be a bad example for young adults.
"What benefit is a and then you want to further add alcohol to it? If you can't make it without a liquor license you don't belong there. In my opinion, you don't belong there in the first place. We are being told that smoking is bad for kids and yet we as adults say go ahead and put something in there just because we want to fill a vacant building. How dare you?," she said.
Resident Nick Ezzo agreed stating that Farmingdale doesn't need another bar.
"The village has to take a look as what is happening to this town. We're not a village anymore. There is just booze this side of the side and booze that side of the street. You can't buy groceries. You can't buy a pair of shoes. How about getting some good customers? I'm against it," he said.
Former Mayor George Starkie said he doesn't approve of smoking or drinking, but cast his insight on the business proposal.
"I don't agree with it but at the same time but my kids and all his friends smoke hookahs and they seek these places out. It was my believe, and it still is my belief that Farmingdale is rebuilding itself. We have to remember the old, we have to stay in today and we also have to remember the youth that is coming up behind us," he said.
Trustee Cheryl Parisi, who originally voted to allow the lounge in the village, said the outcome is unfortunate.
"I'm disappointed that there business plan is not working… I do think that we should give them the ability to try and make this business work," she said.
Speaking on the vote, Abbate said he had hoped for different outcome.
"We wish to stay. We feel as if we are already a part of the downtown. We feel as if we have improved the downtown," he said.
In other action:
- The board voted 4-1 in favor of the proposed new property maintenance code.
- The board approved of the special use permit for Cascarino's Italian restaurant to expand into the previous Paul Gatto gallery space.
- The public hearing on the proposed code revision in the business "D" zoning district to include rental apartments, condos and co-ops and a proposed code change to create a 55 and over housing category will both be continued at next months meeting.
The next board meeting with public comment will be held on Tuesday, September 4 at 8 pm.