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NIMBYS Win: State Assembly Reinforces 500 Foot Rule

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It used to be that local Community Boards could protest any new liquor license going into a space that already had three active liquor licenses within 500 feet of the premises. However, recently, a court ruling redefined the guideline, saying it could only be applied if the other three liquor licenses were of the same classification (club, bar, restaurant, etc.). Therefore if the Cooper Square Hotel decided to open a club in its basement, they wouldn't have any trouble, since the 400 other licenses nearby are for restaurants or bars. Hypothetically speaking.

Well, sorry bar owners. The free-for-all is over. What little semblance of control the restaurant and bar industry almost wrested from the iron grip of the Community Boards is now back in the hands of the NIMBY neighbors. Let Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver tell you why:

"I am writing to let you know about a recent victory for our community in the fight against noisy bars and clubs.

Legislation I co-sponsored and worked to pass along with my colleague, Senator Daniel Squadron, will reverse a court decision that would have weakened one of our community's toughest weapons against disruptive local bars - the 500 foot rule.

The 500 foot rule exists to stop the over concentration of bars in neighborhoods by allowing the State Liquor Authority to reject an application for a new bar or club in any area where there are already three liquor serving establishments within 500 feet of each other.

Unfortunately, a recent court ruling weakened the law by limiting its application to instances where all three establishments are of the same type. The court's decision would have meant that a bar, a nightclub and a restaurant serving liquor, all within 500 feet of one another, would not have triggered the 500 foot rule and therefore any new bar or club would have sailed through the application process.

The legislation I co-sponsored overturns the court's decision and restores the 500 foot rule as a lever for our community to stop the proliferation of bars and clubs in our community.

I expect the Governor to sign it shortly and will keep you posted as this issue develops.

If you have any questions or concerns, as always feel free to contact me at or contact my office at (212) 312-1420.

Very Truly Yours,
Sheldon Silver
Member of Assembly"

A victory indeed. Best of luck to Koi.
· All Community Board Coverage [~E~]

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