Volume 22, Number 20 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | September 25 - October 1, 2009
Liquor law sobers back up
New bar owners will once again face tighter restrictions under a law Gov. David Paterson signed last week.
The law restores the 500-foot rule to its original intent, restricting new liquor licenses if there are already three existing licenses within 500 feet. A State Supreme Court ruling last year gutted the law’s meaning, saying that it only applied to three licenses of the same type, meaning that a new catering hall serving alcohol could open without much scrutiny even if there were already a dozen bars on the same block. This loophole in the law allowed some new establishment owners to circumvent 500-foot hearings, in which they would have had to show that their establishment was in the public’s interest.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Robin Schimminger introduced legislation closing that loophole earlier this year at the urging of local residents. The Assembly and Senate passed the bill over the summer, and Paterson signed it into law last Wednesday night.