Coalition of Block Associations Fight for SLA Enforcement in Saturated Areas

Posted on: August 17th, 2018 at 5:05 am by

A broad coalition of block associations from across the Five Boroughs is fighting the state to help curb bar saturation in overloaded neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods United – jumpstarted in the spring by the Lower East Side Dwellers – now counts 36 member groups on its roster, with the goal of forcing the State Liquor Authority to abide by the law. Namely, the so-called “500-foot rule” as it relates to new liquor licenses. The 25-year-old state statute forbids the authority from issuing a full license (aka OP) to any premises located within 500 feet of three existing licensed establishments, unless the authority consults the local community board, holds a “500-foot hearing,” finds that the license would be in the public interest, and records its reasons.

The coalition argues that the SLA improperly places the burden on communities to prove why exceptions to this law should not be granted. Of course, here on the Lower East Side, that’s apparent at nearly all community board meetings. Residents often cobble together research, photos, and organize to inform others of applicants hoping to open bars.

“Residents citywide are fed up with the statute being ignored,” LES Dwellers founder Diem Boyd tells us. The SLA needs to take its thumb off the scale and stop cheating our communities out of the quality of life we are entitled.”

Last week, per the New York Times, Neighborhoods United began sending letters to Governor Cuomo and other elected officials urging strict enforcement of the law. Hundreds of letters have been sent.

In the meantime, Neighborhoods United has a slick new website to promote, which includes resources to send such letters.

Community Board 3 meeting, July 2017

Below is the mission statement:

Big real estate, the hospitality and nightlife lobby, and the liquor industry are replacing New York City’s network of unique and diverse neighborhoods into one-size-fits-all late-night economy monoculture that excludes local residents from the decisions that impact their communities.

Activate the power of thousands of residents from hundreds of neighborhoods across the five boroughs of New York City to pressure our elected leaders to enforce all laws and regulations that have been passed to protect us, return  control of our neighborhoods to the people who live in them, and engage and expand the electorate to demand fair and equal development of our communities.

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