Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan wrote a letter to State Liquor Authority (SLA) Commissioners Jeanique Greene and Kevin Kim asking them to deny the new liquor license application from the arts venue at 52-19 Flushing Ave. during a recertification hearing held on Tuesday.
The SLA did not make a decision on the matter at the hearing; it will be considered again at its June session.
In the letter, Nolan wrote, “The community board and the Maspeth community have very serious concerns that their quality of life will be seriously diminished if this establishment is granted a liquor license. I support and strongly endorse their concerns and would ask that your agency once again reject the application at the recertification hearing.”
During their March 12, 2014, monthly meeting, Community Board 5 (CB 5) unanimously voted in opposition to granting the Knockdown Center a liquor license.
“Our position has not changed since we made our recommendation last year,” said CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano in an interview Wednesday.
Nolan went on to explain why she feels the Knockdown Center should not be granted a liquor license.
She noted that the center is currently located in the Maspeth Industrial Business Zone (IBZ), making the area better suited for a manufacturing or industrial business. The zoning was created to provide financial incentives to businesses that went into manufacturing. The Knockdown Center was previously a door factory.
“A study by the New York Industrial Retention Center supports this reasoning and claims that commercial businesses like the Knockdown Center can disrupt and ultimately lead to a breakdown of the zones,” Nolan wrote. “As a supporter of the IBZ, I would be very concerned by this proposed outcome.”
Nolan also mentioned that the center has repeatedly applied for a place of assembly permit to have as many as 5,000 people at their events, which could lead to hundreds, and possibly thousands, of visitors traveling through the community.
“With only three bus lines and a considerable distance from the train, the added volume of people will further strain the already limited transportation options residents have in Maspeth and the surrounding communities in Queens,” she said.
Nolan cited the Knockdown Center’s previous events where large groups of people gathered in the area, which has several residential homes and apartments. One such event took place on Nov. 11, 2014, when the Knockdown Center held a concert.
“Throughout the night, there were both large crowds present, customers sitting on stoops of nearby homes and allegedly public urination in the streets,” Nolan said. “Several residents called in noise complaints that were filed with the city’s 311 system.”