Local vape shop files lawsuit against Islip Town
SAYVILLE—A local vape shop recently filed a lawsuit against the Town of Islip.
The town’s zoning board of appeals ruled in February that BlackWaterVapor, located at 10 Main Street in Sayville, had one year and 99 days to find a new location because it doesn’t comply with the town’s adult-use law.
The law was changed in 2016 and lumped vape shops and vape lounges together with other businesses, such as adult theaters, massage parlors and strip clubs, that are prohibited from operating within 500 feet of churches, homes and parks.
The lawsuit, which was filed with the state Supreme Court on March 20 by attorney Donald J. King, names ZBA members as defendants and calls the ruling “unconstitutional,” since the vape shop opened in 2015, before the law was changed.
The lawsuit also calls for the court to amend the board’s decision and allow the business owner, Michael Shannon, to stay at his current location between five years and 99 days and indefinitely.
“I’m hoping to stay here permanently, though,” Shannon said, noting that his lease is for 15 years. Should he be removed, Shannon said the ruling will cost him about $235,000.
However, Shannon remains optimistic about the case. “I think it will work out,” he said, adding that his lawyer feels it’s a “cut-and-dry case” because they have state witnesses who can verify that his business opened before the town’s adult-use law was changed.
Shannon also said he has many advocates in the area who want him to stay, including the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce. Calls placed to the chamber for comment were not returned by press time.
In the future, Shannon hopes that vape stores will be removed from the list of businesses to which Islip Town’s adult-use law applies. He notes that vape stores are different than hybrid stores, which sell drug-related paraphernalia like bongs and pot bowls.
Caroline Smith, an Islip Town spokesperson, declined to comment on the lawsuit. “It is the town’s policy not to comment on pending litigation,” Smith wrote in a comment.
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