Monday, October 7, 2019

Gov. Cuomo approves bill to create public liquor license database

Gov. Cuomo has approved a bill (S55/A4315) that requires the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to create and maintain a public database of information specific to on-premises liquor licenses.

Two local elected officials — Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Sen. Brad Hoylman — sponsored the bill that will enable residents a means to look up information on a bar, including whether it has permits for live music or sidewalk seating.

The two released statements on Friday after Cuomo's signature made it all official:

Sen. Hoylman:

Community boards, block associations, and residents across my district have for years called upon the State Liquor Authority to make information on these licenses more available and accessible, so that they can better understand their impact on our neighborhoods. This is basic, good government. Yet until now, to our enormous frustration, the only option for the public to learn this information was through filing a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.

You shouldn’t have to file a FOIL request just to find out whether a bar in your neighborhood has a liquor license that permits live music or an outside patio. What’s more, under these constraints, police precincts aren’t able to respond to neighborhood noise complaints — as they have no way to confirm whether an establishment is operating within the parameters of their license or not.

Assemblywoman Glick:

For too long, it has been nearly impossible for community members to get very basic information about State Liquor Authority licensees that operate in our neighborhood. Now that liquor license information will be easily obtainable, people can see for themselves if nearby establishments are being good neighbors and are operating within the constraints of their license.

The news release included a statement from Susan Stetzer, district manager for Community Board 3: "Having information available online would be a tremendous help. We spend a lot of time working with community groups and with our local precincts to resolve issues that require information about a licensed business, particularly method of operation and outdoor use questions."

No word on when the SLA will actually make this online resource available to the public.


sophocles said...

I agree, this is basic good government. Does this mean if you call the police because a bar is operating after hours, and show them the license restrictions ("method of operation"), the police will require the bar to close for the evening?

Also basic to good government is that agencies enforce the law and their regulations. Unfortunately, the SLA under Chairman Bradley has been highly resistant to limiting the sale of liquor. I've fought several frustrating and failed battles against them, as they refused to enforce the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law's prohibition on the sale of unlimited alcohol (bottomless brunches!), and they have ignored the 500-foot rule, which is supposed to limit to three the number of licensees within 500 feet of each other. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Check out the monstrosity that is now 1st Avenue between 5th and 6th St on a weekend night - loud bands - large groups of people blocking the sidewalk - around the corner the beetlehouse puts up a velvet rope blocking the sidewalk so their patrons can smoke in peace - its all drunk all the time in the Big Stupid

twittoris said...

Doesn't this exist already?

Giovanni said...

Wait, I thought it was the Nightlife Mayors job to make sure that bars and restaurants were complying with the law and not doing things that make local residents miserable? I guess we can get rid of that position now, huh?

Shawn said...

Considering the nightmare that was living above the East Village Tavern nightclub, this would have been nice to have. They were supposed to close at 12am nightly. They stayed open until 2am, sometimes 4am.

Brad Hoylman is almost singlehandedly making everything better for New Yorkers in this state.

noble neolani said...

Ok this is good news but as so many have commented above will it be enough to give citizens some control over our blocks and stop the decay of our sanity from the concentration of "night life" we must endure to fuel tax income from the sale of alcohol?

Anonymous said...

'bout time.

dwg said...

The Nightlife Mayor is not about enforcement. The office was created to promote nightlife establishments and smooth the path to getting licenses.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can tell, that 'nightlife mayor' has a very cushy do-nothing job, typical of this mayor's administration. Tax $$ used to pay for a 'position' that was NEVER needed (at least not in the form it exists in), and meanwhile nothing gets improved for the bulk of the taxpayers.