BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
Bar and club owners seeking liquor licenses in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village may soon need to show Community Board 5 more than just their business credentials.
Members of the Community Board 5 (CB 5) Public Safety Committee met Monday and considered a proposal that would require new applicants to complete a written form stating their intentions with regard to their businesses.
Christina Wilkinson, an active member of the COMET (Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together) and the Juniper Park Civic (JPCA) associations, proposed the idea to the committee. This measure was introduced in response to the recent influx of bars, pubs and nightspots to Ridgewood and Bushwick.
According to Wilkinson, community boards 1 and 4 in Brooklyn have already adopted this practice in response to the rapid growth and popularity of their respective neighborhoods.
“At one point, Greenpoint was in the same boat that we’re in. They didn’t think it was going to be all that bad, and it got bad,” Wilkinson said. “I think we should be better prepared. Let’s learn from them. It’s working for them.”
Public Safety Committee Chair Robert Holden expressed support for the idea and asked District Manager Gary Giordano to discuss the issue with the Executive Committee. “We’re just trying to get more information,” he explained.
Newly appointed board member Alex Maureau agreed. “It’s also a good way for the local owners to get to know us, and vice versa,” he said.
Giordano voiced support for a shorter version of the written form. “I think it has a lot of merit,” he said. “We could certainly work out something.”
According to Giordano, the board can grant recommendations for or against liquor licenses. The board also notifies the 104th Precinct and Lt. George Hellmer, the precinct’s special operations coordinator, of establishments with a prior history of problems. The precinct, in turn, will notify the board of any prior arrests, summonses or felonies committed at establishments seeking licensing.
“I never want to be in a position to be okaying liquor licenses,” Giordano said. “In some cases, we have taken votes at community board meetings related to certain establishments that have been a problem. But we comment to the negative and I would prefer it that way.”
Under the current policy, prospective bar owners seeking liquor licenses must notify CB 5 30 days prior to applying for licensing from the State Liquor Authority.
Holden proposed that the extra form, if approved of by the Executive Board, be made available to bar owners as a PDF document on the board’s website. The agreement would be signed and submitted to the community board prior to seeking State Liquor Authority licensing.
P.O. Charles Sadler of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit explained that he has adopted a “proactive instead of reactive” approach to new nightlife in the area. He said that he had personally visited five of Ridgewood’s newest bars, including The Monk and Onderdonk and Sons, in an effort to reach out to local bar owners.
Owners of each of the five establishments met with Sadler and other officers at a recent nightlife meeting hosted by the precinct. According to Sadler, all of the new bar owners and managers were made aware of the precinct’s regulations and guidelines, and all pledged respect and compliance.