Monday, April 09, 2012

With no code of conduct yet for arena, Barclays Center neighbors seek delay on liquor license

Community boards have only an advisory role regarding liquor licenses, but often mediate changes in an operation. And in the case of the Barclays Center arena, the hearing tomorrow promises to be heated, since, as Gersh Kuntzman of The Local puts it, in Arena Foes Will Fight Barclays Center Booze Permit:
Thousands of boozed-up sports fans will pour out of the Barclays Center onto local streets after games, ruining the quality of life for residents of the low-rise neighborhoods nearby — so the state should hold off on giving the arena a liquor license until some mitigation plan is in place, say opponents, who will converge on a public hearing tomorrow night over the booze permit.
Despite the headline, the issue is not over the license but its terms, and there are many unknowns, likely not to be answered until tomorrow at the earliest:
“It’s premature for them to get community board support for a liquor license when they haven’t even made public any plans for security or crowd control of 18,000 people,” said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council and a Prospect Heights resident. “They haven’t shown how they can protect quality of life for the neighbors.”
The arena encroaches on a residential neighborhood, as the state overrode zoning that requires a 200-foot cordon around a sports facility. Those returning to the interim surface parking lot would walk on sidewalks as narrow as six feet wide.

And the arena code of conduct, promised for this spring, is not yet available. Forest City Ratner officials told The Local they wouldn't comment on the liquor license application until tomorrow night's meeting, at 6:30 pm at the 78th Police Precinct, 65 6th Avenue, just a block from the arena.

Beer cutoff

One issue: would beer sales be cut off earlier than the start of the fourth quarter, which is the NBA rule, set in 2005, in response to a brawl between players and fans in Detroit.

As I wrote in January, no NBA arena will be abutting a residential neighborhood as closely as the Barclays Center, scheduled to open for basketball in October, and neighbors are concerned about noise, sanitation, driving--and inebriated fans leaving the arena.

At the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting January 26, Forest City Ratner executive Jane Marshall said that a code of conduct is being developed for the arena, and will be shared with the public, but not until the end of the spring.

Is there any possibility that the beer cutoff could be earlier than the end of the third quarter?

"I'm saying that I think it's impossible," responded Marshall.

The Local points out that there's no mention in the environmental impact statement about controlling "alcohol-soaked crowds."

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