Volume 21, Number 12 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | August 1 - 7, 2008
Liquor license plans
On the issue of problem bars, State Sen. Martin Connor points to his efforts to get a New York City resident appointed to the State Liquor Authority’s board. He said neighborhoods with large numbers of bars now have a sympathetic ear on the S.L.A. Connor also favors adjustments to the 500-foot rule, which makes it harder for more than three liquor licenses to be issued within 500 feet of each other. Connor thinks the distance should be measured from the establishment’s entire location instead of from the door, which can be strategically placed to avoid the rule.
He and his Democratic primary opponent, Daniel Squadron, say the agency needs more staff to crack down on offending clubs.
Squadron wants to give community boards the power to deny liquor licenses in neighborhoods with high densities of residents and bars. He said in the 25th District, the Lower East Side and the East Village would be the most likely to qualify for the added power, but Soho, Tribeca and parts of Brooklyn may also, depending on the results of a comprehensive survey he wants to do on liquor licenses in the city. He expects under the new rule, bar owners would go out of their way to alleviate community concerns, and community boards would use their new power responsibly and not vote against all applications. He said he would consider shrinking the distance from 500 to 200 feet in areas where the board had veto power.
He owned What Bar near Columbia University in 2001, when he says he learned two things – how to make a great cheeseburger and more importantly how to listen to community concerns about bars.