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Astoria neighbors decry busy night club

An Astoria nightclub which stands on uncertain legal ground has been targeted by an angry coalition of residents who want the establishment to clean up its act.

Club DNA, at the corner of 28th Street and 34th Avenue, is surrounded on three sides by houses and apartment buildings whose residents complain the club creates a major disturbance every evening it is open.

“We get enough noise to float a battleship out of that thing,” said one man who lives across 28th Street from the club with his wife.

The man, who asked not to be named, said sound seeps out of the building through the air-conditioning ducts and out a side door that is frequently left open, making it impossible for his family to sleep on weekends until the club closes around 6 in the morning.

“We wouldn’t have bought the house if we had realized the club was here,” he said.

Another elderly resident who lives a full block from the establishment said the deep thumping of the club’s music keeps her and her husband of 58 years awake at night.

“I use earplugs, but the music is too loud,” she said.

The club’s valet parking service shuffles cars around 28th Street — double and triple parking them along the roadway — which residents say blocks their driveways and prevents them from being able to cross the roadway.

Residents also complain that club-goers litter the streets with bottles and trash, while frequently engaging in physical disputes outside.

The owner of DNA did not return phone calls for comment.

Although neighbors and Community Board 1 District Manager George Delis had thought the club was operating within the law, city Buildings Department spokesman Paul Wein said the club is in fact illegal because it violates the residential neighborhood’s zoning regulations.

“It’s not supposed to be there,” he said.

The club was issued a zoning violation last summer and then fined $2,500 when representatives failed to show up for a November hearing, Wein said. The department issued a second violation against the club last month and set a court date of July 24 with the Environmental Control Board, which was then rescheduled for Aug. 28.

“You’re not allowed to have an eating and drinking establishment that has loud music in a residential district, so that’s why we issued the violations,” Wein said.

Although the Environmental Control Board court can issue penalties after it hears the case later this month, it does not have the power to close down the club, an ECB spokeswoman said.

Despite the club’s apparent violation of city zoning laws, questions linger as to who has the authority to shutter it. Although Delis said the Buildings Department would have to take away the club’s certificate of occupancy, which is required for it to operate, Wein said DNA was never issued the certificate in the first place.

But the club must have a certificate of occupancy in order to get a liquor license and a cabaret license, both of which have been renewed within the past year, said representatives of the State Liquor Authority and the city Department of Consumer Affairs, which issue the licenses.

The club has also received many summonses from the city’s Social Club Task Force, which targets nightclub hot-spots and allows police and other city agencies to issue summonses for violations.

Officer Dwayne Palmer of the 114th Precinct said the club has been issued violations for loud sound, disorderly premise, overcrowding and other problems.

“We visited quite frequently and we’ve done aggressive tow operations over in that area where cars that are illegally parked are cited and summoned and towed away,” Palmer said.

One resident who runs a business across the street from the club questioned why DNA was allowed to operate in the first place.

“If you had a permit, you wouldn’t cause such trouble in a residential area,” he said. “They have a permit to disturb us, that’s all I can say.”

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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