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NEIGHBORS OF TOPLESS BAR TO WATCH FOR CODE VIOLATIONS

A new Hertel Avenue organization vowed Tuesday evening to keep the Colonie Lounge under surveillance for any code violations, now that the topless bar is legally in business.

Encouraged by public officials in attendance, 40 members of the East Hertel Community Organization agreed to monitor the bar at 1795 Hertel and fight for "zero tolerance."

Departing patrons will be watched for such violations as littering, shouting, fighting, loitering or urinating in the residential neighborhood.

"We'll be enforcing parking ordinances with a fine-tooth comb, and not just the Colonie," said Parking Enforcement Director Leonard G. Sciolino.

He said residents should call 851-5183, and if the Parking Violations Bureau is closed they can reach police at 853-2222. The bureau has no Saturday shift, he said, but it has been considering starting one, possibly as soon as Nov. 1, for enforcement outside bars.

Of particular concern is the first 20 feet from each corner, where parking is illegal, even if it isn't posted with a sign.

Capt. Donald R. Fry of the Northwest District said parking must be enforced for safety reasons, but he warned that such calls receive low priority, especially on weekend nights.

"We're becoming proactive," vowed Nancy Snyders, president of the organization. "We're documenting calls to the police and the nature of their responses to our calls."

Representing the Common Council at the meeting in North Park Lutheran Church were Kevin J. Helfer of the University District, Alfred T. Coppola of the Delaware District and Majority Leader Rosemarie LoTempio, Council member at large.

"We have to take a lead role and strengthen our ordinances," said Coppola. "We must fight for parking enforcement. The key is monitoring."

"We need zero tolerance," said Helfer, "specifically all of Hertel Avenue."

He said residents also should be watching for business activity outside the Colonie's agreed operating hours of 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.

"Your Council members have done all they could," said Mrs. LoTempio. "Now it's up to you. We have to document everything. If any bar becomes a nuisance to the public, we can do something, but we need the documentation."

Michael B. Risman, the city's acting corporation counsel, outlined the settlement signed on Sept. 15 by the owners. The document is on file in court and can be enforced for the next seven years, after which the bar must cease topless dancing as entertainment.

Resident Joseph Willett said the State Liquor Authority can act quickly if the bar serves drinks to drunken patrons or if the patrons cause a disturbance inside or immediately outside the premises. He advised residents to write down license numbers of drivers who appear to be intoxicated.

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