CB3 Denied Epstein’s Bar a Liquor License Renewal Without Appearing Before the Public
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Epstein’s Bar had grand plans to expand upward at Stanton Street. The idea was to annex the second and third floors for dining and event spaces respectively. But Community Board 3 put the kibosh on those plans in June by denying the alteration, thanks to outspoken community opposition; and the applicant ultimately withdrew before the full board vote (so the verdict wouldn’t be on record with SLA).
Little did anyone know, however, that Epstein’s was up for license renewal this month (“renewal with complaint”), and was already denied by the SLA subcommittee (expiration is actually October 31). We are now told that the board ultimately took the position that the aforementioned June ruling – which exposed the vehement opposition – was forum enough for purposes of the renewal. Neighbors might welcome that news, but not the fact that the application item never made it to the agenda.
The decision begs the question about transparency. The public should be aware that there is a renewal afoot, regardless of whether it’s heard at committee. In fact, CB3 already employs a method of fast-tracking applicants for approval by settling on standard stipulations with applicants ahead of time. These special cases are usually listed as such before the marathon meetings.
So why this lack of transparency with Epstein’s?