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posted: 2/10/2010 12:01 AM

Schaumburg rejects dance floor at hookah lounge

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As they first did two years ago, Schaumburg officials are again struggling with how to combine entertainment and smoking at the village's six hookah lounges.

But trustees Tuesday rejected a request for a dance floor at the X-Hale Lounge at 1320 N. Roselle Road, citing both the small size of the facility as well as a number of recent code violations there still being adjudicated.

The problem officials face over hookah lounges is how to treat them and other businesses fairly in the aftermath of the indoor smoking ban.

Though hookah lounges are permitted under the ban, that permission comes with an equal ban on alcohol and strict limitations on food and entertainment.

If restaurants and entertainment venues can't have smoking, how can hookah lounges have food, liquor or entertainment, trustees ask.

Some of the village's hookah lounges, like X-Hale, do have small menus and limited entertainment licenses for such things as weekend DJs.

But X-Hale's request to expand its license to include a dance floor became more difficult after inspectors wrote several citations against the business during a spot check last month.

The citations include being 40 people over capacity and allowing forms of entertainment such as body painting and a laser light machine not covered by its current license.

X-Hale owner Amir Motlagh said the check occurred during a rare party whose attendance suddenly escalated.

"I never thought that would happen, so I was surprised," Motlagh said.

But he still feels the need to have a license for people to dance is a severe restriction, and he finds it strange that body painting or a laser light machine are considered "entertainment."

"It's not fair," Motlagh said. "People want to dance. Why do you need a license for it? I feel like (village officials) just want to make money off us."

But Trustee Jack Sullivan, who chairs the village's planning committee, said he would find the 2,400-square-foot size of the business prohibitive for a dance floor even if the recent citations weren't an issue.

"I think everyone just looked at the floor plan and thought, 'Where are you going to put all these people?'" Sullivan said.

Motlagh said he won't pay legal fees to fight the decision.

Rejected: Lounge owner won't pay to fight decision