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Public Safety & Quality of Life

37 West 20th Street (between Fifth and sixth Avenues), Boxers NYC LLC, application for alteration to an on premises liquor license.

WHEREAS, BOXERS NYC LLC ("Applicant"), has notified Community Board Five of its request to alter its hours of operation for the bar located at 37 West 20th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), New York, New York (the "Premises"); and

WHEREAS, Applicant appeared before Community Board Five in December 2009 and, subject to certain conditions and stipulations, was approved for an on premises liquor license for the Premises; and

WHEREAS, The Premises consists of 2,762 square feet of space on the ground floor, and the basement used only for storage, bathrooms, and offices, with an occupancy of less than 75 persons, with five (5) tables, twenty (20) chairs, twenty four (24) bar stools, and fourteen (14) counter stools; and

WHEREAS, Although there is no kitchen on the Premises, there is a brick pizza oven on the Premises and the Applicant serves pizzas; and

WHEREAS, Applicant is aware that this location falls within the Ladies Mile Historic District and understands that no alteration can be made to the exterior (including signage, windows, roof, doors, lighting, etc.) without approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission; and

WHEREAS, At the time of its original application, Applicant agreed that for a period of six months from opening it shall cease serving liquor at 2:00 A.M. every night and have the Premises cleared by 2:30 A.M. every night, and that after said six months, Applicant could return to CB5 seek CB5's consent to an extension of those hours; and

WHEREAS, After operating for a six month period, Applicant returned to CB5 in October 2010 to seek extension of its hours as, but voluntarily agreed to postpone its request so that CB5 could convene its Moratorium Task Force to review such request in the context of a greater analysis of the neighborhood; and

WHEREAS, After issuance of the Moratorium Task Force Report in March 2011, Applicant returned to CB5 in April 2011 to seek extension of its hours; and

WHEREAS, In March 2011, CB5 adopted the report of the Moratorium Task Force and its recommendations and adopted the policy on the Restricted Licensing Area, which, as it applies to Boxers, includes a "grandfather clause" which permits CB5 to review Boxer's hours of operation as part of Applicant's existing method of operation; and

WHEREAS, At the time of its original application, at CB5's request, Applicant agreed to create a smoking area at the rear yard of the Premises in an unenclosed area, which smoking area has been the source of noise complaints by residents adjacent to the rear of the Premises, and,

WHEREAS, In retrospect, both the Applicant and CB5 now realize that creating a smoking area in the rear of the Premises was a mistake and Applicant has agreed to discontinue use of the rear yard for smoking and subject the rear yard to CB5's Rooftop and Rear Yard Guidelines by, among other things, limiting the open hours of the rear yard to 10:00 PM weeknights and 11:00 PM on weekends, and conducting a sound engineer analysis of the rear yard to eliminate sound from escaping the Premises and disturbing the abutting residents; and

WHEREAS, Aside from intermittent issues attributable to the rear yard, credible complaints regarding the operation of the Premises have been nonexistent and feedback from the community regarding the operation has been overwhelmingly positive; and

WHEREAS, Applicant has been a model operator, cooperative and responsive to the needs of the community; and

WHEREAS, On several "test occasions" (Gay Pride, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year's Eve) Applicant was permitted to operate until 4:00 AM and there were no complaints; and

WHEREAS, In January 2011, Applicant hosted CB5 and the community at an open house to hear feedback from the community on its method of operation and, at such open house, no negative feedback was communicated; and

WHEREAS, Other reputable existing operators in the area (e.g. Flatiron Lounge) have no restriction on hours of operation; and

WHEREAS, Applicant has agreed to continue to abide by the 2:00 AM closing time Sunday through Wednesday, and shall operate until 4:00 AM only on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and holidays; and

WHEREAS, Applicant has agreed to conduct a sound engineering test to address possible sound leakage at the rear of the Premises; and

WHEREAS, Applicant has agreed to hire additional security, on a proactive basis, to prevent later operating hours from negatively impacting the community;

WHEREAS, the Applicant has agreed that it shall:

1.      except as modified hereby, continue to operate the Premises substantially in accordance with the conditions and stipulations imposed by CB5 as part of its original application and Applicant will make no substantial change in or to the Premises without the consent of CB5;

2.      strictly comply with and adhere to the plans for the operation of the business, as set forth herein;

3.      have background music only, and in no event shall a DJ, live music or dancing ever be permitted at the Premises;

4.      provided it is permitted by all applicable zoning, building, fire and other codes, rules and regulations, Applicant will maintain an outdoor smoking area in front of the Premises and will encourage its customers to use that area for smoking and cell phone use and shall discourage customers from loitering outside the Premises on 20th Street.  This smoking area will be monitored by a security presence after 10pm on all nights;

5.      maintain adequate security in the premises at all times necessary to (i) ensure that patrons enter and leave the Premises and 20th Street in a peaceful, quiet and respectful manner; (ii) discourage patrons from congregating outside the Premises, and (iii) use best efforts to have 20th  Street cleared of all patrons within one half hour of closing;

6.      not use any outside promoters at any time;

7.      arrange for private garbage pickup and its garbage will be stored in a manner so as not to cause a disturbance or annoyance to its neighbors;

8.      meet with neighbors and CB5 on a regular basis if requested and shall distribute a 24-hour hotline number to the community that goes to a live manager or owner who can immediately address any complaints from the community;

9.      close bar at 2am Sunday-Wednesday, with back outside area closing at 10pm and close bar at 4am Thursday-Saturday, with back outside area closing at 11pm

10.  hire an additional staff person to work the door and ensure that patrons remain at a respectful noise level while outside and discourage lingering outside of the premises;

11.  abide by all guidelines set forth in CB5 Rooftop/Rear-yard Café Policy

12.  take necessary measures to lower overall sound level, including but not limited to retaining a sound engineer to investigate ways to lessen noise coming from the back area that is causing a disturbance to the neighboring building; and

WHEREAS, Except as modified hereby, the original conditions and stipulations agreed to by Applicant in connection with the original liquor license shall remain in effect; and

WHEREAS, These agreements, stipulations and conditions will be incorporated into the Method of Operation as part of the liquor license application submitted by Applicant to the New York State Liquor Authority, a copy of which shall be simultaneously submitted to CB5; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends denial of the request by BOXERS NYC LLC to alter its hours of operation for the bar located at 37 West 20th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), New York, New York, unless the above conditions are adhered to and are incorporated into the method of operation of the State Liquor Authority application.

The above resolution passed  by a vote of 31 in favor; 2 opposed; 2 abstaining; 1 Present but Not Entitled to Vote.

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