The Day | Speaking Out on Noise, Bars

LastoftheACsRachel Wise

Good morning, East Village.

The State Liquor Authority Committee and Department of Consumer Affairs Licensing Committee for Community Board 3 met for three hours Monday night and the discussion centered on two of the neighborhood’s hot-button issues: the granting of liquor licenses and noise complaints.

NYU Journalism’s Molly O’Toole reports that many of the roughly 30 people who attended the meeting asked committee members about whether more restrictions should be placed on provisions for transferring liquor licenses from one business to another.

Currently, the holders of liquor licenses may sell them like any other asset. And Ms. O’Toole reports that Susan Stetzer, the district manager of Community Board 3, said that landlords — and previous owners — are using the lure of those licenses to demand high selling prices and higher rent for incoming tenants who want to open businesses that sell alcohol. Under the current rules, new tenants in that situation can immediately acquire a temporary license and begin operating.

“Transfers is the single issue that has this committee and our community in its vice grips,” one resident said, noting the public opposition last week to the granting of a license to Table 12, a diner on Avenue A.

Ms. O’Toole also reports that some residents believe that the high volume of noise complaints in the neighborhood — 2,324 complaints have been called in to the 311 hotline for city services as of June, the most from any community board district in the city – may be partly attributed to the city’s smoking ban in restaurants. Smokers, who go outside to light up, are sometimes the source of noise complaints.

“The community is paying for what Bloomberg should have thought out,” said David Mulkins, a frequent critic of licensing rules who lives on East Fifth Street near Second Avenue. Mr. Mulkins directed his ire at Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who recently proposed broadening the smoking ban.

Peter Bradley, another resident of East Fifth, expressed frustration that not enough was being done to address the concerns of community members.

“We’re like a dog with no teeth,” said Mr. Bradley. “We bark a lot, but not much seems to change.”

We’d also like to remind you that residents will have another chance to be heard when Community Board 3 holds a full board meeting tonight at 6:30 at P.S. 20, 166 Essex Street (between East Houston and Stanton Streets). Besides issues related to alcohol, EV Grieve notes that the board may also consider a measure to limit the number of concerts in Tompkins Square Park.