2006-06-23 / Community

Pheffer: Crack Down On Disruptive Bars

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer has announced that she and her colleagues in the Assembly overwhelmingly passed a four-bill legislative package last week, approved with bipartisan support, aimed at strengthening the laws regulating establishments serving alcoholic beverages in order to crack down on those bars where disorderly conduct and continuous noise repeatedly disrupt the surrounding communities.

"Many throughout the Queens community have continuously expressed their outrage at problem bars in the area as well as oversaturation of these establishment, these bills are an important first step in reestablishing the regulation of these bars and providing avenues to address those that are problems in the community", said Pheffer.

The cornerstone of the Assembly legislative package is a bill ( A.10191-B ) that would prohibit any further exceptions to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law's 500 ft. rule, which was designed to prevent more than three on-premise establishments from operating within 500 feet of each other. The bill would exempt from its provisions establishments existing before the measure becomes law. It also would allow the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to issue an exception to the 500 ft. rule if it determines a new license would benefit the community and if the local elected body approves that decision.

Other bills in the package approved by the Assembly would establish an "alcoholic beverage control problem premises task force" to ensure the rigorous enforcement of existing laws to prevent illegal activities at premises that sell alcoholic beverages ( A.3050 ); require the SLA to notify the municipality and community board of all its meetings related to the license application process to ensure the community's voice is heard throughout the decision process ( A.1628 ); and authorize the SLA to set stipulations that must be complied with as a condition for an on-premise liquor license being granted (A.3265).

In addition, the Assembly also approved legislation ( A3937 ) that would establish an SLA liaison position for each community board in the City of New York. The liaison would act as an intermediary between the SLA and the city, ensuring that the boards are completely up to date concerning liquor license approvals and renewals as well as keeping the SLA aware of the community's concerns during the approval process. The bills were delivered to the Senate.

"Through many hearings and discussions, my colleagues and I have been examining methods to better regulate and enforce laws concerning bars and liquor stores in New York.

I have introduced bills ranging from those as simple as creating a standard form for notification of license application or renewal, to extending the amount of time a community board must be notified of such applications and renewals, to legislation as sweeping as creating a City Liquor Authority.

I am hopeful that as we continue to discuss these issues we will be able to find solutions to address the problems that repeatedly arise," said Pheffer.

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