2012-04-20 / Top Stories

Residents Object To Proposed BCD Liquor Store

By Miriam Rosenberg


A sign announcing the opening of Bess Liquor & Wine at 1487 Beach Channel Drive is already up despite the fact that the license application filed with the State Liquor Authority is still pending approval. A sign announcing the opening of Bess Liquor & Wine at 1487 Beach Channel Drive is already up despite the fact that the license application filed with the State Liquor Authority is still pending approval. If the New York State Liquor Authority approves, Far Rockaway will have a new liquor store moving into the row of stores across from Redfern Houses.

Bess Liquor and Wine, Inc. applied for a liquor license from the NYSLA on November 10, 2011 for a store to be opened at 1487 Beach Channel Drive. While Donovan Richards, the chief of staff for Councilman James Sanders Jr., said on Tuesday he was told the application was approved, as of Wednesday morning the NYSLA website listed the application as still pending.

Doris Jacobs, the president of Redfern Houses Tenant Association told The Wave on Tuesday that several residents in the building contacted her last week after the store’s sign went up.

“A number of people called,” said Jacobs. “We don’t need one [a liquor store] here. There are two on Mott Avenue.”

She added that residents do not want the store’s customers “to start hanging out like they do on Mott [Avenue].”

“We don’t want this liquor store,” said Jacobs.

Because the license is a type L license, for the sale of liquor to be consumed off the premises, it is not necessary for the owners to notify local officials about their intent to open such a store.

Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14, said this is the first time in his 23 years with the board that they have not been contacted about a new liquor store opening. As a matter of fact, the board’s website lists more than 20 establishments that are applying for renewal of their licenses and eight applying for new licenses.

“Every new store has sent us notification,” said Gaska. He added, “[But] if they know we’re going to object, why should they?”

Gaska called for a new law that would give local municipalities more of a say on the issue than they have now.

Gaska said that in his time with CB 14 there has only been one time the liquor authority turned down a license request in Rockaway.

In 2010 a liquor store that was set to be situated at 43-15 Beach Channel Drive within a block of a house of worship and a day care center – in violation of New York State Liquor Authority regulations – was denied a license to operate due to problems in the applicant’s background.

“We opposed the one on Beach 54 Street … and the one near McDonald’s on Mott Avenue,” said Gaska. “They gave them licenses.”

Gaska said CB 14 would let the State Liquor Authority know that they oppose the store. In addition, Richards said the councilman’s office will work to prevent the store receiving a license.

One thing in the community’s favor is the state law that “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.”

The First Church of God is located at 1425 Beach Channel Drive, less than a block from the proposed liquor store. Sheldon R. Weaver Child Care is located in the area on the other side of the Redfern Houses complex on Redfern Avenue.

Gaska said that, if the store gets a license, the board would monitor it for any violations and will object when the license comes up for renewal.

Sanders and Richards are scheduled to attend this month’s Redfern Houses TA meeting next week, where the issue will be discussed.

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