G.N. Village won’t give hookah lounge sanctions

Adam Lidgett

The Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees decided at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday to not sanction the Fountain Blue Hookah Lounge for allegedly making misrepresentations during its application process about how the business would operate. 

“I recommend that if it could find a resolution to the problem, that it would be in village’s best interest,” Village of Great Neck Attorney Stephen Limmer said. “There have not been multiple violations of conditions and the applicant is willing to abide by the conditions.” 

Owners of the controversial hookah lounge, located at 435 Middle Neck Road, have come under fire from the trustees who claim the owner made misrepresentations during their conditional-use permit application process. The village has said the owner of the hookah lounge told them the area would not be loud and active, would not have a stage and would not serve a full menu.

Limmer said the owner of the lounge said in a letter that there was miscommunication between himself and his architect when the owner gave his site plans to the board. Limmer also said the owner said he was not aware of some of the conditions made by the board on what the lounge could do, and that the owner is currently willing to comply with the board’s conditions. 

Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman said the conditions include no live music or performers, no dancing, no cooking, no alcohol outside and no use of the outside seating on Saturday nights. Kreitzman also said that the space must be quiet and sedate and that the owner must rearrange the tables to preclude a large open area inside. 

Not everyone at Tuesday’s meeting was happy with the state of affairs at the hookah lounge though. 

Attorney Michael Cserhalmi, who has an office above the hookah lounge, said the Fountain Blue Hookah was disruptive, playing loud music at all hours. 

“The music is supposed to be sedate and quiet – it is anything but sedate and quiet,” Cserhalmi said. “The music is pounding and thumping.”

Cserhalmi also said some of the smoke from below has come into his office, requiring him to leave his office.

Limmer said the village’s message couldn’t be clearer to the owner of the lounge that he must abide by these conditions or he will lose his business. 

The lounge was approved by trustees last July, despite protests from the public to deny the owners a permit.

Trustees approved a bill last month that prohibits on-site smoking businesses such as hookah parlors and cigar bars, citing health concerns. The Fountain Blue Hookah was “grandfathered” into this new legislation, being the only current hookah parlor in the village.

The village also voted Tuesday to prohibit parking on public streets and in public parking lots within the village between midnight and 6 a.m. if there is three inches of snow or more on the ground. 

Kreitzman said the village will post signs near the areas where the law will take effect. He also said the measure is mostly to make sure the plows can adequately do their job. 

“We don’t expect to go out and give a million tickets but we do expect people to move their cars,” Kreitzman said.

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