Friday, June 08, 2012

Elected officials, citing no notice of post-event service, call for further review of arena liquor license; responses to CB 2 include no bending on one-year performance review

As two hearings on the Barclays Center liquor license approach before the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA), at their offices at 317 Lenox Avenue, in Manhattan, five Brooklyn elected officials representing the area around the arena have asked for further review by local Community Boards, given the applicant's failure to explain that clubs at the arena could serve alcohol until 2 am, up to an hour ever events.

The letter (below) was sent by state Senator Velmanette Montgomery, joined by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Assemblyman Jim Brennan, and NYC Council Member Letitia James. (Where's Council Member Steve Levin? I'll update this when I learn.)

As stated in a press release from Montgomery, the information had not been presented to either Brooklyn Community Board 2 nor Brooklyn Community Board 6 at a joint presentation to those CB licensing committees on 4/10/12. "Community Board members and personnel have told the electeds that had they been presented with this information they may have developed different license stipulations to protect the local residents," the press release said.

"We are acting to protect the rights of our Community Boards to protect the interests of our local residents and businesses,” Montgomery said, requesting further Community Board review not of the entire license application but the section regarding after-event service at clubs. "These serious omissions endanger the entire license application. They must be remedied.”

(Note that Montgomery's letter and press release suggested that the after-event serving hours were being proposed only for non-NBA events. Actually, the letter from the applicant stated, "For premium, limited access areas of the Arena such as the suites, clubs and the restaurant, alcohol service will continue until one hour after the end of NBA games and other events.")

The SLA hearings
  • Daytime — 11:00 am, Tuesday, June 12
  • Evening — 7:00 pm, Wednesday, June 20
As noted by CB 2, the hearings result from the so-called "500-foot rule," when there are three businesses with "On Premises" (full) liquor licenses within 500 feet of an applicant's establishment.

And, as noted in the hearing notice, at bottom, written testimony is preferred, and the hearing officer can limit the amount of time.

Speakers "will only be permitted to testify to issues of fact regarding the specific application at hand and must address the impact of the proposed premises in relation to the other licensed and operating on-premises liquor establishments within the 500' radius," according to the notice.

While Community Board testimony is welcomed, it's unclear whether anyone from Community Board 6, for example, will note that they were not told that arena bars would be open for an hour after events.

From CB 2

Community Board 2, which agreed to support the Barclays Center liquor license with stipulations, posed slightly different questions, and thus got slightly different responses, than did CB 6.

The report from CB 2 District manager Robert Perris is below. I've put the answers from the applicant's lawyer in italics.

Note that the "no sale of alcohol outside of the arena" did not get a response, arena reps said that would not be their policy. Less responsive, I'd suggest, was the avoidance of a one-year performance review. From CB 2:
On May 9, 2012, Community Board 2 voted unanimously (29-0, with two abstentions) to recommend the SLA approve the license application, with several conditions and stipulations, listed below. Applicant's counsel provided the community board with the responses indicated.
Creation of a transportation plan — A draft Transportation Demand Management Plan has been developed and presented and is currently undergoing comment. (See also below.)
Creation of a security plan that coordinates with NYPD, including the Transit Bureau — A summary of the security and public safety plan was provided.
License to be issued for the shortest permissible duration, with community board performance review to occur after one year regardless of license expiration — License will be issued for the standard two-year period. No response to request for performance review, although that conceivably could be conducted as part of the Atlantic Yards Service Cabinet structure.
Arena operator to institute clean-up program around arena, with clean-up to occur immediately following events, not the following morning — "[Brooklyn Events Center] and Levy are developing a sanitation protocol for the Arena and are committed to maintaining the Arena block in a clean condition. BEC and Levy will implement measures to reduce waste from the Arena. The Arena will pick up trash on the Arena block and Block 1129, where the onsite surface parking lot is located."
Two drink limit per identification per visit to point of sale — This is the policy of Levy.Identification readers to be used at half or more points of sale — Consistent with statements made when Community Boards 2 and 6 reviewed the license application on May 8, 2012, counsel writes, "Levy does not utilize identification readers at most of the venues which it serves, finding that, based on its extensive experience, proper training and certification of all alcohol servers, management and security is a more effective means."
No sale of alcohol outside of the arena — No response.
Community advisory group to be formed immediately and meet regularly — Proposed to be addressed as part of the existing Atlantic Yards Service Cabinet.
Letter from elected officials

6-8-12 Barclays SLA Letter


Hearing notice

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