Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Catering Hall Fails to Get License to Dance by Stephen Geffon - Queens Chronicle

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Community Board 10 rejected a cabaret license submitted by Ozone Park catering hall Infiniti 80. (photo by Stephen Geffon)

There will be no dancing at Infiniti 80, an Ozone Park catering hall, if Community Board 10 has its way.

Board members last week rejected an application for a cabaret license at the hall, located at 96-25 Rockaway Blvd., submitted by owner Selena Archambault, on the grounds that it would increase traffic congestion in the residential area.

Representing the business and its owners, Archambault and her sister, architect Dan Austin made a presentation before the board outlining the work done and money spent to get the business in shape.

“I have the utmost faith in these young ladies and I think that they can pull it off,” Austin said, adding that the co-owners took an old building, formerly the Villa Marcello catering hall, and turned it into a usable space.

The catering hall would essentially be a mom-and-pop community establishment, Austin told the board during its monthly meeting last week.

Board Chairwoman Betty Braton said C.B. 10 received three letters from community residents supporting Infiniti 80 and its request for a cabaret license. It also received a letter from the Ozone Park Civic Association opposing the application, Braton said.

After discussing the catering hall’s application, the civic association came to the conclusion that approving a cabaret license would cause a number of problems in the community, according to the letter. Such a license would not set a good impression for children in the residential area, the civic association wrote.

Additionally, Infiniti 80’s location is in close proximity to six schools and there are no parking facilities to accommodate the business’ patrons. The civic also noted that Rockaway Boulevard is already heavily congested with traffic and claimed approving the application would likely worsen the situation.

According to the city Department of Consumer Affairs, any business that sells food or beverages to the public and permits patron dancing must have a cabaret license. C.B. 10 member Peter Granickas asked Infiniti 80’s owners why they would need a cabaret license, which is not required for family parties with a DJ and dancing.

On behalf of the owners, Austin explained that the reason they were seeking a license is because the catering hall’s predecessor, Villa Marcello, had one. In response to that, Braton said the previous business had a cabaret license, but it was unnecessary because it was operating as a catering hall, not a dance club.

Granickas also noted that the board had bad experiences in the past when they approved cabaret licenses.

The board voted unanimously to turn down the application for a cabaret license, but Braton told Austin and Archambault they could still operate their business as a catering hall and could apply for a cabaret license again at a later date.