Here are excerpts from today's Wall Street Journal article on Community Board 2 and 3....
The owner of a new tea lounge in the East Village wanted a liquor license. After her community board denied the request, she started crying, "shocked by the backlash," according to one board member.
Welcome to Community Board 3. The restaurant and night-life industry may be buzzing downtown, but some of the biggest fireworks take place in dreary meeting rooms where tempers flare, tears are shed and the back and forth can stretch on for up to eight hoTrs. Confrontations have gotten so bad that some businesses have just given up and withdrawn applications.
Now, a group of high-profile restaurateurs are trying to form a trade association. One of their main gripes: Community boards are unfair.
"In a way, we're making or breaking dreams," said Ariel Palitz, who has straddled two roles, as nightclub owner and member of Community Board 3's committee. She said she was speaking as an individual, not for the committee.
Some restaurateurs say community boards can be the biggest obstacle to doing business in the city. "They should call them communist boards instead of community boards," said Keith Masco, whose application for a liquor license for a proposed seafood restaurant and market in the Lower East Side was denied several months ago. "What they're doing is really unfair."
Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer says a real concern of residents in her district is having a diversity of businesses, not just bars and restaurants. "It's about having services for people who live here," she said.