Thursday, January 3, 2008

State Liquor Authority 500 Foot Hearing

200 Water Group LLC's application for a liquor permit was received on Dec 17th by the State Liquor Authority. By December 19th, the SLA had already issued a hearing date. By law, the SLA must notify the Community Board with a 15 day notice prior to the hearing, which they did, however, the CB contact was on vacation.

When the CB contact returned to work on Dec 31, he left a voicemail on the work phone of one of the Atalanta Board members, who wasn't working that day. When the board member returned to work on January 2, the voicemail indicated that the 500 Foot Hearing was scheduled for Jan 3 at 11am -- exactly 15 days from the notification date.

The Fight Buster's Action Committee went into hyperdrive to notify local residents, and over 40 of you showed up in the Atalanta lobby at 8pm on 1/2 to listen to our lawyer, Barry Mallin, discuss the issues. Barry pointed out that in all his years of fighting on behalf of various communities, he had never seen the SLA issue a hearing date so quickly....(we'll leave the conclusions to you to make)

The next day, 20 of us boarded a school bus to travel up to Lenox Ave in Harlem, where we were joined by another 5-10 residents to speak against the liquor permit application.

Suffice it to say, the folks from Buster's were pretty damn surprised to see us show up in force. A number of us commented on how many more people would have shown if we had had more than a day's notice!

The mechanics of the 500 Foot Hearing are for an administrative judge to collect information from the applicant and opposition, and write a synopsis that is subsequently submitted to the SLA Commissioner for a final judgment. Although we had a very strong showing of support, we still have an uphill battle since Community Board #1 (CB1) unanimously approved 200 Water's application to move forward with a liquor license. Following today's meeting, our lawyer has one week to submit written documentation (letters, petitions, etc) to the SLA. Our lawyers then have three days to rebut arguments, and finally the SLA will render a decision at their next available meeting.

Make sure you get those letters of opposition to the SLA commissioner and to the doorman at 25 N Moore St.

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