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Public Safety & Quality of Life

47-49 West 20th Street aka 656 Sixth Avenue - "Flatiron Entertainment, LLC" - (formerly "Avalon", "Limelight") - application for renewal of on-premises liquor license

WHEREAS, Flat Iron Entertainment, LLC d/b/a "Avalon" (formerly "The Limelight") is applying for renewal of their on-premises liquor license at 47-49 West 20th Street a/k/a 656 6th Avenue; and

WHEREAS, For the past two decades, residents, property owners and businesses have suffered from the extreme noise, vehicular congestion, belligerent crowds, litter, traffic problems, pedestrian concentration, as well as vandalism, incidents of violence and general disorder that accompany this high density of liquor licensed establishments; and

WHEREAS, The Public Safety and Quality of Life Committee heard complaints of noise, unruly and violent crowds, daily garbage and litter left on the street, daily stench on the street due to constant urination and vomiting, and also numerous complaints from residents regarding the current operation of the Avalon; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five recognized the hardship the residents endured for the last two decades as this neighborhood evolved from a light-manufacturing district with a special permit for residential use into a predominantly residential neighborhood and opposed the granting of a new on-premises liquor license in 2001 for Flatiron Entertainment due to the size of the premises and the impact the high volume of vehicles and the number of patrons would have on the neighborhood; and

WHEREAS, This past year, this area has been rezoned as "as-of-right residential" resulting in at least a tripling of residential dwellings; and

WHEREAS, Despite the Community Board's objection, a liquor license was issued in 2001 as a result of a 500' Hearing, according to the SLA, "specifically because of the reputation of one of the principals, John Blair," who, among other reasons, had ties to the community and claimed the need to serve a "diverse" community; and

WHEREAS, Section 111 of the ABC Law reads: "A license issued to any person, pursuant to chapter one hundred eighty of the laws of nineteen hundred thirty-three or this chapter, for any licensed premises shall not be transferable to any other person or to any other premises or to any other part of the building containing the licensed premises except in the discretion of the authority. It shall be available only to the person therein specified, and only for the premises licensed and no other except if authorized by the authority;" and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five has recently learned, that not only is John Blair no longer a principal and has no ties at all to Flat Iron Entertainment, LLC, but that the original principals listed in 2001 have since changed 100% - a change that was accepted by the State Liquor Authority "in the discretion of the authority" without notification to the Community Board or a 500 Foot Hearing; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five believes this "change of ownership" goes against the spirit and/or intent of the law and is really a "transfer in disguise" that prevented the Community Board from having any input or information regarding the new owners and more importantly circumvented the "500 Foot Hearing" that would have afforded the Board and the community the opportunity to opine if treated as a transfer; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That since the original 2001 license was issued because of commitments made by one principal, John Blair, Community Board Five opposes the renewal of the on-premises liquor license for 47 West 20th Street a/k/a 656 Sixth Avenue, Flat Iron Entertainment LLC d/b/a "Avalon," on the grounds that when principals of the corporate ownership was completely changed (specifically the departure of John Blair), the application should have been considered a transfer, prompting a 500 Foot Hearing; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five opposes the renewal also due to the size of these premises, the number of patrons and the high volume of vehicles that are negatively impacting this neighborhood.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 28 in favor, 0 opposed, 2 abstentions, 1 present not entitled to vote.

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