Liquor Store Application Opposed By CB 14, Residents
Residents and members of Community Board 14 are up in arms after an application for a liquor store, which would be located within a block of a house of worship and a day care center – in direct violation of New York State Liquor Authority regulations – was submitted to the Authority, The Wave has learned.
The new liquor store is to be situated at 43-15 Beach Channel Drive, between Beach 43 and Beach 44 Streets. The Blanche Daycare Center at 44-02 Beach Channel Drive is across the street to the west of the proposed store, while the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church at 361 Beach 42 Street would be across Beach Channel Drive to the east.
Jonathan Gaska, the district manager of Community Board 14, wrote to NYSLA chairman Dennis Rosen about the appliction earlier this month.
“The community board strongly opposes this new liquor store on the grounds that it is less than 200 feet from a day care center, less than 500 feet from a church, and will be located in a crime prone area,” wrote Gaska in the December 14 letter.
According to the authority’s website, “Applicants for a liquor store license, wine store license and on-premises license cannot be within 200 feet of a school, church, synagogue or other place of worship.”
Gaska also said that the applicant, as is required by the SLA, has not notified CB 14 about its intentions to seek a license. “The Alcoholic Beverage Control Law requires that, in connection with the submission of certain types of on premises alcoholic beverage applications to the State Liquor Authority, the new applicant (or the licensee-applicant in the case of a renewal) must provide a 30-day advance notice to the Local Municipality or Community Board that such an application is being submitted. The 30-day advance notice requirement is intended to provide Local Municipalities and Community Boards with an opportunity to make their views known to the State Liquor Authority,” according to the SLA website.
As of Monday of this week, Gaska said that the applicant has not yet notified CB 14 about the license application. Members of the Frank Avenue Civic Association of Edgemere, whose mission is to improve the area, believe a liquor store in that location would only serve to downgrade the neighborhood. “It is planned to be placed in a neighborhood that already is a hangout for young men with a lot of time and a high rate of unemployment,” wrote Steve Cooper, the president of the civic association in a December 12 letter to the NYSLA. “There are safety concerns for the people that live and visit the area that could get worse. It is inappropriate, the liquor store, for that area.” Cooper added, “Our improvement effort is showing signs of success. We don’t want a setback.”
Pastor Jorge Vega of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church told The Wave on Tuesday that the whole neighborhood is opposed to the store, citing such groups as the Tenant Association for Beach 41st Street Houses and the Frank Avenue Civic Association.
“It’s crazy. Why bring in something that’s not wanted?” said Vega.
According to the pastor a liquor store occupied the same location several years ago.
“It really brought down the neighborhood,” recalled Vega. “There were guys hanging out front. Bottles were thrown over the fence. It was not positive.” He added that there are now “new families moving in homes. The neighborhood is coming up.”
While the community is opposed to the license being granted, Gaska’s past experience with the State Liquor Authority does not lead him to feel optimistic that the efforts to quash the application will be successful.
“Generally speaking, the State Liquor Authority is not interested in how a community is affected,” said Gaska, who added that the SLA is income driven. “It’s kind of sad. It happens to all community boards. It’s an unfortunate trend in the city,” said Gaska.