LES Partnership Again Encroaches on CB3 Liquor Committee

Posted on: June 17th, 2020 at 5:07 am by

A fight at Hair of the Dog, April 2018

For the second time in as many years, the question is posed, though the conditions on the ground are vastly different. Should local business improvement districts possess administrative input in the liquor license process?

The Lower East Side Partnership briefly appeared on the Community Board 3 docket this month regarding a proposal to assist in “OP license administrative approvals.” Or, in layman’s terms – insert and influence decision-making over area liquor licenses.

Keep in mind that the dominant purpose of a BID is catering to its neighborhood stakeholders (e.g. wealthy property owners, special interests, large businesses). So, this power play makes sense.

The Lower East Side Partnership

You’ll recall that, nearly two years ago, the Partnership pitched Community Board 3 on a three-part plan at the hyperlocal level – help vet new liquor licensees, assist with the application submission paperwork, and police license stipulations (technically the responsibility of NYPD and SLA).

As before, the strategy is endorsed by CB3 Chair Alysha Coleman and District Manager Susan Stetzer. Both were strongly in favor, having suggested that this arrangement could relieve and “streamline” the overburdened SLA subcommittee, which oftentimes works late into the night reviewing applications.

The SLA subcommittee was set to hear the proposition tonight, but the item was quietly scratched.

Meanwhile, locals maintain that the public is being subverted and without a say in this proposed arrangement. And that it goes hand-in-hand with the BID’s attempt to expand its boundaries (and revenue stream) to the East Village and Chinatown, as the current proposal encompasses the entire CB3 territory.

The Lower East Side Dwellers block association remains at the forefront of this fight.

As for the Lower East Side Partnership, the nonprofit was founded in 1991 by local real estate baron Sion Misrahi to attract business to the neighborhood with the “bargain district” slogan. What ensued was decades of courting nightlife, and a persistent invasion of umpteen bars, hotels, and restaurants in a tiny nine-square-block radius. Enough to cause legitimate public heath concerns in the present day.

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