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Public Safety & Quality of Life

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF REFORMS TO IMPROVE PUBLIC AND POLICE ACCESS TO DETAILS OF SLA LICENSES

WHEREAS, The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) has the jurisdiction to issue on-premises licenses according to the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Laws, and is responsible for enforcing those laws; and

WHEREAS, Community Boards in Manhattan review and offer guidance to the SLA about the potential impact of a license on public safety and quality of life in our neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, All licenses include a Method of Operation which defines the specific terms for how an establishment will be run and are legally enforceable; and

WHEREAS, Community Boards, as part of their review process, often negotiate stipulations with applicants in order to clearly define what is and isn't allowed including hours, the music system (e.g. whether it is recorded, DJ or live), soundproofing requirements, security procedures, use of outdoor space, how the entrances will be managed, and other considerations; and

WHEREAS, The existence and enforcement of such stipulations are generally viewed by the local community as key factors in determining whether bar and restaurant establishments are acting as good neighbors; and

WHEREAS, These stipulations form the basis for the Method of Operation and therefore dictate the terms of the overall operating license; and

WHEREAS, Representatives from the SLA have stated repeatedly that they depend on Community Boards and members of the public to alert them to problem locations, so they can address the issues and deploy their limited enforcement resources effectively; and

WHEREAS, Currently, there is no easy way to find out the specific rules for any establishment because this information is only available to the public if they file a request under the Freedom of Information Act, which makes it onerous and time-consuming for members of the general public to know whether a bar or restaurant is in compliance with the terms of their operating license; and

WHEREAS, As a courtesy, the SLA honors Community Board requests for information but it is a burdensome and slow process; and

WHEREAS, Even the local police precincts do not have real-time access to this information which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for an officer to enforce the terms of an operating license when responding to a complaint; and

WHEREAS, Every SLA license is legally available to any citizen who makes a request and should be readily accessible online; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges the SLA to reform its public information system to make the Method of Operation for every license available online; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges the SLA to require operators of nightlife establishments to post the Method of Operations in a publicly accessible location on premises or make it readily available upon request; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges New York State elected officials to take the necessary steps to support this important reform.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 34 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining.

 

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