Community Board 6's Mark Shames (seated)
and Permits And Licenses Committee Chair Mike Racioppo (standing)
Akiva Reich, owner of the Green Building
Swan Dive's General Manager Mike
Though the vote is strictly advisory, the New York State Liquor Authority considers the recommendation when issuing a license.
Previously, the Green Building's owner, Akiva Reich, and his lawyer, had appeared in front of CB6 Permits and Licenses Committee on April 27th to explain that the 10,000 square foot space outdoor establishment would run from May to November, would be open 6 days a week until 2 AM, would play amplified music, and would seat 157 people at 22 tables.
The Committee's vote on this issue resulted in a 4-4 tie to disapprove their license application.
Since the April 27th meeting, the Community Board has heard from many of the venue's neighbors. In response to this "groundswell of concern", the Board's Permits and Licenses committee arranged a meeting for the community with the partners of the Green building.
The meeting was held at the space on Union Street this past Monday night at 7 pm. It was well attended by local residents.
Mr. Reich gave everyone a presentation of Swan Lake's concept, which seemed to have changed significantly since the April 27 meeting. "We are looking for a family and neighborhood crowd," he explained. Besides a full bar, there will be a bbq menu which includes ribs, hamburgers, brisket, deviled eggs and cole slaw. The menu will include slushies and snow cones for the kids. "We will be offering comfort food at $20 and less," Reich said.
He also mentioned that there would be children's programming during the day.
Though Mr. Reich and his general manager tried hard to make the venue sound like a family-style restaurant, residents were not so quickly swayed. They mentioned more than once that the 2 AM closing time would seriously affect their quality of life. Many also voiced concerns about rats, crowds and loud music.
One resident, who lives in the Satori, told Reich that loud music could already be heard regularly from the events at the Green Space and from Reich's adjacent venue at 501 Union Street.
76th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Vincent Marrone was on hand to say that amplified music of any kind is not permitted outdoors at any time. Even if "Swan Dive" were to apply for an outdoor sound permit, it would only allow Reich to play music till 8 PM.
"We cannot give you a sound permit for this type of space," Morrone told Reich.
There was a lot of skepticism about how Reich and his partners plan on limiting the crowd to 157 people and how they plan on handling drunk patrons, especially late at night. "I don't know how much control you will have," one resident said. "You kick them out the door and they are hanging out on the street and then you say that they are no longer your problem."
At the end of the meeting, it was clear that Mr Reich was willing to amend the hours of operation for 'Swan Dive'. "My interests are aligned with yours," he told the residents. " I would not do anything that would create a conflict with everything else I want to do in my other two establishments on the block."
The Community Board Meeting will take place tonight at Brooklyn Borough Hall at 209 Joralemon Street at 6:30 pm. It is open to the public but strictly to observe.
It should be an interesting vote.