BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There will be no new bars or restaurants anytime soon in one of the most popular downtown scenes on Long Island.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, Babylon village trustees approved a one-year moratorium.
Just last month, surveillance cameras captured the scene as vandals tore up a Babylon village holiday display. They set flags on fire and urinated on the property.
Police blamed it on some out-of-control bar-hoppers.
But Babylon Village Mayor Ralph Scordino said the new ban on new bars has nothing to do with loud complaints from residents about out-of-control bar patrons. Instead, Scordino said, it is about creating the right mix to boost foot traffic for all of the village’s businesses.
“We have about 30 bars and restaurants in our village right now – 30-plus,” Scordino said. “I’d like to see more retail in our village for more walkability.”
The mayor said the ban will not affect any existing bars, although he has asked them to close earlier. Because it is a hot nightspot, village leaders want to be sure that bars and restaurants do not open in retail stores that become vacant.
Stephanie Mangano owns a beauty salon right next to what had been a yoga fitness studio. She is absolutely opposed to a bar next door, especially considering the recent vandalism.
“This is a family town,” Mangano said. “We don’t need any more, you know, drunk kids walking around after midnight and vandalizing our town.”
One man who has lived in the area for 30 years added: “The biggest problem is parking, especially on the weekends, but it’s better than when 30 years ago when it was all dive bars and there were no restaurants.”
The man told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall that the area was once “party city.” But despite the perceived improvement, many said new regulations are a good idea.
“I guess they’re right, because it is heading that direction,” said Doug Williamson, owner of the Babylon Bicycle Shopper. “Every time something opens, it does seem to be a bar or restaurant. You’re trying to keep a balance. Makes sense if they can get new regular stores to come into the village.”
But patrons of many popular bars and eateries that line Deer Park Avenue said they have nothing to do with someone else’s foolish behavior.
“Eliminating bars – I don’t see why that would, you know,” said bar patron Shawn Jarrett. “If people are going to be rowdy, they’re going to be rowdy anyway.”
Alexandria Delvecchio, 23, said she and her friends enjoy the bar scene and think there should be more bars, not less.
“I didn’t even see the point of that,” said Delvecchio, of Lindenhurst. “What’s the point of banning something for a year?”
Not wanting to ruffle village feathers, several bar owners would only tell CBS2 off camera that they think the moratorium will ruin the town’s image as a party hot spot.
Babylon’s mayor said he will meet with landlords to help devise alternatives for any vacancies.