Volume 23, Number 11 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 21 - 27, 2010
State targets ABC loophole
A new state law, if enacted, would bump up enforcement on bars that might be taking advantage of loopholes in the system.
The bill, which passed the Senate and awaits Assembly approval, was discussed at Community Board 1’s Quality of Life meeting last Thursday evening. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Law says that nightlife establishments in the city, when obtaining their liquor licenses for locations within a 500-foot range of an existing similar establishment, must prove that their business is of sufficient public interest.
The 200-foot rule, meanwhile, denies bars or restaurants liquor licenses if the entrance to the establishment is within 200 feet of a school or a place of worship.
The new bill would impose tighter enforcement of both rules by measuring the distance between the properties, rather than the establishment’s doors, in populations with cities of 1 million residents or more, such as New York City.
“Owners and applicants sometimes physically move their door to get out of this [a hearing],” said Mary Cooley, district director of State Senator Daniel Squadron’s Manhattan office. “That’s the reason why the law was introduced. The main advantage is to have an actual reflection of what’s really in the area.”
New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, who introduced the bill along with Assembly Member Joan Millman, said in a statement, “This bill closes a loophole in the 200-foot rule big enough to fit its own bar. By clarifying that measurements must be taken from the property line, as was always intended, this bill creates a clear, consistent standard for communities and establishments to follow – another step toward desperately needed consistency and clarity in licensing.”
— Aline Reynolds