Friday, April 11, 2008

Community "Business" Board 6 Sticks It To Hoyt & Bond Residents


COMMUNITY BOARD 6's Vote On Liquor License For oyster bar at Hoyt and Union

Now I know that the Community Board represents the interests of both residents and businesses within the district. I am also fully aware of the fact that their role is purely advisory. But when it comes to voting on recommending the issuance of liquor licenses and outdoor seating for eating and drinking establishments, our board seems to approve all without considering the impact it will have on the immediate neighbors.
The residents of Hoyt and Bond have fought a valiant fight to keep a second bar from opening on a stretch of Hoyt street that is zoned exclusively residential. However, the community board chose to go against the neighbors by voting for the recommendation, thereby, in my opinion setting a very, very dangerous precedent.
As far as I am concerned, C.B.6 just signaled to all restaurateurs that this district is a free for all and that residential streets are as good as any to open bars.
Below is an account of what happened at the C.B.6 meeting.

It was devastating, Katia. 18-6 in favor of the bar, and one abstention. We were absolutely stunned. One board member, in a speech bordering on the histrionic, called us liars and questioned our characters. He said we had treated the chairman of the Land Use Committee despicably by writing a letter complaining about our treatment in the first Land Use Committee. Although 6 members voted for us, only one, Lou Sones, a bar owner, spoke strongly in our favor. The whole thing left us speechless. They never considered the residential character of our block, they never concerned themselves with the 300 petition signatures we’d gathered or the statements from the block associations - they were only concerned that there were no impediments to Jim Mamary’s right to open a bar. Having crossed their Ts and dotted their i’s their job was to support him. They should be called Business Board 6. They are absolutely useless to the community.

In talking to neighborhood friends and neighbors it is clear that we are all pretty disgusted with our local board. Shame on them.

Related Reading:

Interesting Viewpoint On The Subject Of C.B.6 And Liquor Licenses

Zoning Unimportant In Carroll Gardens!

Neighbors Need Help Fighting Hoyt Street Bar

For Home Page, click Pardon Me For Asking


Anonymous said...

well I guess now have to make case to NYS Liquor Authority.
BTW - CB6 is having info meeting next wednesday evening concerning quality of life issues related to these businesses.
So - no matter how much I like Union Cafe - I'll stop going 'cause I think it is same guy.

Anonymous said...

The issue at play here is that the Department of Buildings is allowing retail to circumvent zoning. According to the Liquor Authority, this is a permitted use and no different than bars on Smith St.

Community facilities are allowed and in R6 residential zones, they are even considered "bonus floor area" but to allow such use to be replaced by commercial is a loophole that has never been tolerated before by DOB and this sets a terrible precedent for our City.

Essentially, DOB

jezka said...

Well Black Mt. Wine Bar and the new place certainly won't stay as 2 separate spaces for long - just look at the Pacifico complex on Smith & Pacific (same owner). Once they're in, I'm sure it won't be too hard to knock down that wall, creating a huge liquor bar directly across the street from an elementary school on a quiet residential block. Thanks CB6!!

Anonymous said...

I was a member of CB# 6 for many years, and have nothing but respect for the Board. But a lot of very knowledgeable people with a lot of service to the Board were purged recently, including myself; so I haven't had experience with the current Board and members. I do think that complaints from community groups should be taken seriously and receive a fair hearing by the Board.

Since I started attending Board meetings as a community member in the late 80s, my major complaint was that sometime members could be pretty arrogant when the public didn’t understand their complicated procedural rules. Often, the public thinks that they can go to a general board meeting to speak about an issue that they just heard about, and when they get there, they are frustrated to find that they are not allowed to speak. And it was too late to express their views at the appropriate committee meeting where they are allowed to speak.

To make the approval process for liquor licenses more transparent, I recommend: firstly, that the Board, which has little to no experience approving liquor licenses, develop guidelines so that community groups know upfront what criteria they are using to approve/decline a liquor application. Other boards throughout Manhattan have been approving liquor licenses for years and may have guidelines. I know that Manhattan Community Boards 4 & 6 have a full page of licenses that they approve each meeting.

Secondly, I think that the previous use was a "community faculty" type of use such as a doctor's office. This is a quite different use than a bar and restaurant, which will soon come to the Board to request outdoors tables.

Thirdly, isn't this a residential block that already has a bar on the corner with outside tables. Why is allowing a second bar on a residential block an appropriate use?

Fourthly, the applicant is certainly a pioneering restaurateur on Smith Street, but all of his restaurant have outside sitting areas, either in front or the backyard, with people outside on the sidewalk smoking and talking, and the backyard serving area being adjacent to residential buildings.

Fifthly, the vote became personal with CB6 members. The block association wrote a letter to the Board objecting to the process and that they concluded that the rules that the Chair established to run the meeting were not uniformly applied to all participants. Many CB6 members took this letter as an insult to the committe char and the Board and made reference to this letter as a reason not to consider community concerns.

Sixthly, the community board needs to consider how bar and restaurant noise and smoke affect the adjacent residents, residential property values. WHO WOULD BUY A HOUSE ADJACENT TO THE GOWANUS YACHT CLUB?

CB6 members suggested that there are other eating establishments with full liquor licenses at other similar locations in the area (Henry St.) that seem to work well in the community. But there are also bars such as the Gowanus Yacht Club in a courtyard with a commercial on the corner of Smith and President Streets, which abuts a residential area. The Club, which I believe is also owned by the liquor license applicant, is a totally outdoor venue in a courtyard with no indoor seating, and is not an appropriate use for that corner. I realize it is popular, but it is not only noisy with people outside on the sidewalk smoking, but its beach club motif is totally out-of-character and inappropriate in a brownstone neighborhood.

Seventhly, it appears that the Board gave more weight to a few residents that approved having the restaurant and bar, than the block association's petition of about 300 names against the approval of the license. Barbara

Anonymous said...

I am surprised and disappointed in the decision made by our community
board in voting in favor of the liquor license application on Hoyt street.
I have some experience in dealing with a noisy bar which used its backyard as a party room and assaulted us nightly in our own home with their inconsiderate patrons. With all of the knowledge at the community board, no
one knew all, or fully understood the rules governing bars and restaurants.
The Department of Small Business Services then created a document which explains the rules, regulations and procedures for bar and restaurant owners. Since this document was created no one has taken responsibility to enforce the rules. It is now used only to deflect the complaints of residents. The businesses continue to operate as if nothing had happened.
Our city has apparently decided to turn a blind eye (and deaf ear) toward bars and restaurants in residential neighborhoods while claiming to improve the quality of life.
I moved into Carroll Gardens thirty years ago and have enjoyed the
historic row houses, the quiet, and the sense of neighborhood. We are going to lose these qualities unless we act to control the development going on all around us, and we speak out to protect our residential quality of life.
I hope more of our neighbors (and especially our representatives) start looking at the big picture and think about the long term effects of the transfer of rights from citizens to businesses.
G. Kelly

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should put yourself in the shoes of the home owners of Hoyt Street. Would you approve a motion for a liquor license if you lived on the other side of the wall of the establishment?
There is already an establishment which serves wine adjacent of the proposed. As a result of this estabishment, there is a brunt smell which, in the winter months, at least, comes from their eyesore of a fireplace vent which creates diffuculty for those of us who have health conditions, such as asthma and moderate or severe allergies. In the summer months, we will have to deal with the noise and smoke of those who are standing on the sidewalk or outside of the establishment smoking, as well as speaking and laughing loudly.
Many mornings school children have to walk over black garbage bags, which are lefton the sidewalk at the corner for pick up.
It was brought to your attention that the block being targeted is not very long. This means that Mammary's business would take up almost half of one side of the block, but, yet, will affect ALL of it.
As a board, you have been to Public School 32 ( 317 Hoyt Street ) for some of your meetings. So, you are WELL aware of the proximity of this school and the location of not only the current, but also the proposed businesses. Hoyt Street is NOT Smith Street. You have sold out the residents you were supposedly appointed to represent.
Daniel R. Cellers
resident adjacent to
Mammary's establishments on Hoyt Street

Anonymous said...

I have lived most of my life in this neighborhood. Presently I work at Public School 32 on 317 Hoyt Street, and is very familiar with the plight of the homeowners on Hoyt Street. This end of Hoyt Street used to be a quiet residential area which has been invaded by the wine establishment on the corner of Union and Hoyt Streets. On many days, I leave the school at 6 PM, which is the same time the After-School program ends. Children walking towards Sackett Street on the side of these establishments are ALREADY exposed to individuals coming from the current wine and cheese bar that smoke and drink in the outside seating area. I believe that this is NOT an example of behaviors we wish to expose the children to.
During the summer, when it is necessay to leave the windows open-even without them open, for that matter- you can hear the voices of the talking, smoking, and laughing from the corner establishment-this will only add more grief. It makes me wonder if a bar establishment was proposed so close to Public School 58, if you would have voted the same way.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Mamary's partner runs the filthy hole of union smaith cafe. This is such an outrage. I walk down my block and see these interlopers on their way to Smith Street. Now, my only refuge, which has been to walk doiwn Hoyt to avoid Smith on weekends will be fucked by this new UNWANTED pile of shit. It will be filthy, smelly and noisy. Hoyt is NO PLACE FOR THIS!!! What, the Fried Chicken space across form the projects isn't cool enough for him? He has to find a spot between a school and a church? Fuck you, Mamary. I hate your restatuarants and how you never even THANK Alan Harding for Patois as if it was all your idea. YOU are an opportunistic IDIOT. A slob. Your places suck and YOU have ruined my neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying what I wish I had said at the CB6 meeting. I wasn't able to go. I am in such shock. Were the CB6 paid off? Mamary is an idiot and now he will be rushing in with a big smile on his face. Why doesn't he just open in the ground floor of the Clarett building? Seems a perfect place for him...I am so disgusted by my neighborhood. I live between both the Union Cafe and now this Oyster crap. After 20 years, I guess CG has seen the end . 20 years since I moved here, back when NO ONE would ever visit or even dream of having a 718 area code. Now, my snob friends are "considering" Brooklyn as a final option, as if it were a retirement community...or Miami. I am so angry. The petition? What? Nothing...argh.

Anonymous said...

Wow- all of you really need to get a grip. Your biggest community complaint is a wine and cheese bar? Really? Count yourself lucky. You live in New York City for God sakes.