Board 5 Laments Rise In New Liquor Stores
Concerns about the opening of new liquor stores around the Ridgewood/Glendale area and the proposed creation of a new gym in Glendale were hot topics during Community Board 5′s meeting last Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village.
In announcing the liquor licenses received by the advisory for its perusal, Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri noted that there are questions about a request for a new liquor license for the NY Liquor Store, an establishment to be opened at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and 64th Place in Glendale. Though the official address is 64-19 Myrtle Ave., Arcuri noted, the store’s façade is located at 71-22 64th Pl.
Regardless of the address, Arcuri stated, the liquor store is located in close proximity to the Christ Tabernacle Church (64-34 Myrtle Ave.), and there are questions as to whether its opening would violate the State Liquor Authority’s rule forbidding the opening of a liquor store less than 200′-away from a school or house of
The official distance is measured from the door of the proposed liquor seller to the door of the house of worship.
Board 5 member Fred Haller noted that the proposed opening of the liquor store is an example of a recent proliferation of such establishments in the community. He noted that “in the last two years, two new liquor stores have opened” between Christ Tabernacle Church and St. Pancras Church. Another liquor store is scheduled to open on 61st Street near Cooper Avenue.
Regarding the proposed liquor store on 61st Street, District Manager Gary Giordano noted that the board filed an objection with the State Liquor Authority about its opening. Under law, he claimed, no liquor license can be awarded to a location that has not been used for commercial purposes for at least two years.
Giordano stated that the location has not been used by a business for more than two years and is located within a residential area.
By law, Haller noted, the owners of a new liquor store must notify the four closest liquor stores closest to their location to notify them of their intention to open. This, he explained, gives the existing proprietors an opportunity to file an objection with the State Liquor Authority.
“It’s actually pretty incredible” that so many new liquor stores have been allowed to open in the Ridgewood/ Glendale area over the last couple of years,” Haller said. “The state was saying that they want to cut down [on the number of licenses issued], yet they keep getting approved.”
Arcuri and Giordano publicly urged local members of the state legislature to investigate this issue and, if necessary, draft legislation tightening State Liquor Authority rules to curb the proliferation of new liquor licenses in communities.
“The liquor stores are popping up” all over the area, Giordano added. “It’s very unnerving to say the least.”
Unrelated liquor licenses
Other establishments which have submitted liquor license applications to the board include the following:
– a liquor license renewal for VFW Haspel Staab Post 551, located at 84-02 60th Ave. in Middle Village;
– a liquor license renewal for Cahill Enterprises Inc., d.b.a. Glen Patrick Pub, located at 53-73 65th Pl. in Maspeth; and
– a wine and/or beer license renewal for Carlo Pizza of Metropolitan Ave. Inc., d.b.a. Carlo Pizza, 74-02 Metropolitan Ave., Middle Village.
Those with wish to comment about any of the applications may call Board 5’s Glendale office at 1- 718-366-1834 during normal business hours.
New gym in Glendale?
Representatives of Retro Fitness came before Board 5 for a public hearing regarding their proposed development of a new “physical culture establishment” at a former factory in Glendale.
Attorney Jennifer Dixon explained that the fitness chain planed to develop a 21,000 sq. ft. facility within the former Nabisco warehouse located at 65-45 Otto Rd. Once opened, she explained, the gym will be open from 6 a.m. until midnight each day and will include exercise equipment and designated areas for fitness classes and youth activities.
The gym expects 800 visitors to come to the location during its 18 hours of daily operation, she added.
Under city law, Dixon noted, Retro Fitness is seeking a special permit with the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to open the gym at the location and must receive a recommendation for or against from Board 5 in order to move forward.
Arcuri, who noted that he resides close to the gym’s proposed location, stated that many of his neighbors expressed concerns about where the customers would park. Dixon stated that 70 parking spaces are initially planned for Retro Fitness, but the proprietors would consider adding spots if needed.
The board chairperson also noted that the main entrance and exit into the site’s parking lot is located at the corner of Otto Road and 66th Place, which is a difficult intersection to navigate since Otto Road curves at that point. To increase safety at the location, the community board had previously asked the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to install a traffic control device, but those requests were denied.
When asked by Arcuri if the gym’s proprietors would be willing to pay for the installation of a stop sign or traffic signal at the entranceway at the DOT’s approval, Dixon indicated that the management would be willing to do so. The gym’s management also noted that it would work to remove graffiti from a retaining wall at the location.
Walter Sanchez, the chairperson of Board 5’s Land Use Committee, noted that the Retro Fitness plan would be revisited at the panel’s next meeting; a formal recommendation on the plan would then be forwarded to Board 5 for a full vote at their February session.
‘No’ to Maspeth project
At the behest of the Land Use Committee, Board 5 overwhelmingly voted to recommend denial of an appeal to the BSA to allow the owners of a Maspeth building to finish an incomplete multi-use building under expired zoning regulations.
During their December meeting, an attorney representing the owner of 68-10 58th Ave. sought board approval of the application to finish construction of a three-story alteration of the building with eight apartment under R4 zoning regulations. The structure is over 90 percent complete, but work stalled in 2008 during the economic crisis that hit the nation.
The project remained incomplete in July 2010 when new zoning was enacted for the site and the surrounding area limiting construction to oneand two-family homes. The property was later sold to its current owner.
Sanchez explained that, in reviewing the case, the Land Use Committee found that the entire project not only failed to comply with the existing zoning, but also was in violation of the former R4 zoning. Particularly, the structure failed to provide the minimal number of offstreet parking spaces required for a project of such a size.
“Even under the old zoning, it was not proper,” added Tom Rossi, a Land Use Committee and Board 5 member. “I don’t think in good conscience that we can say ‘go ahead'” to the project.
Building a greener city
Tom Smith of the Department of City Planning (DCP) provided an overview of the agency’s “Zone Green Text Amendment,” which modernizes the existing zoning code to allow property owners and developers to construct new buildings or retrofit existing structures with environmentally friendly methods and materials.
Some of the features of the new amendment include permitting owners to building “well-insulated exterior walls” with energy-efficient material designed to trap heat in a home during the winter and keep it cool during summer months. This method aims to help property owners and tenants lower their utility bills.
The proposal also allows for the installation of “sun control devices” and awnings of up to six feet in length to partially cover windows and additional solar panels on flat roofs anywhere below the parapet, regardless of the height of the building.
For more information on the text amendment, visit www.nyc.gov /zonegreen.
Arcuri announced that the community board’s Executive Committee has received the following street fair applications for events in the coming months:
– The Ridgewood Local Development Corporation for a fair on Sunday, Apr. 15, from noon to 6 p.m. along Myrtle Avenue between Wyckoff Avenue and Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood;
– The Kiwanis Club of Glendale for a fair on Sunday, May 6, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. along Metropolitan Avenue between 73rd Place and 79th Street in Ridgewood;
– The Maspeth Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club of Maspeth for a fair on Sunday, June 16, from noon to 6 p.m. along Grand Avenue between 65th and 72nd streets in Maspeth;
– The Kiwanis Club of Glendale for a fair on Sunday, Aug. 12, along Myrtle Avenue between Fresh Pond Road and Forest Avenue in Ridgewood;
– The Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens for a four-day festival from Thursday, Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 9, along Fresh Pond Road between Menahan and Woodbine streets in Ridgewood; and
– The Maspeth Lions Club and Boy Scouts of America for a fair on Sunday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. along Grand Avenue between 69th and 72nd streets.
Community Board 5 generally meets on the second Wednesday each month at 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King Regional High School, located at 68- 02 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village. For more information, call 1-718-366-1834.