Cabaret License on Hold — For Now

Update: We noticed this invitation today for a NYE party that goes until 5AM. If things get rowdy in the wee hours, call 311.

Since our last post, the Executive Committee of Community Board 2 voted unanimously to oppose the cabaret license application  of One Front, fully supporting the recommendations of the Health, Environment and Social Services committee. This information was submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs.  Since then, we have learned to our disappointment and surprise that the DCA has no public hearing process. Decisions by the Commissioner are made based on City Code.  For those interested, the portion of the code that we have been told is relevant can be seen at the bottom of this post.

Thus, we believe that DCA may be obligated to grant a license based on the Administrative Code as it relates to zoning. This is where is becomes difficult for neighborhoods such as ours, as we are designated commercial/residential. In spite of the fact that this designation harkens back to 1960, and despite the fact that we are heavily residential at this stage,  the official zoning remains the same.

Recognizing this, and responding to our community’s objections to the cabaret, our local politicians have written to the Commissioner of the DCA,  Jonathan Mintz.  We thank Assemblywoman Joan Millman, outgoing City Councilman David Yassky, and State Senator Daniel Squadron for their support, as well as the District Manager of CB2, Rob Perris, who has been most helpful through this process.  In addition, with help from Borough President Marty Markowitz’s office, we are investigating how other commercial/residential neighborhoods, such as Tribeca and Soho, have kept cabarets from their neighborhoods. We believe that those neighborhoods have changed some of the wording within their zoning designation (a process which takes considerable time),  but we will continue to research this.  We may have to consider a zoning modification here as well.

In the interim, the Chairperson of Community Board 2 has written a second letter to Commissioner Mintz to emphasize that Fulton Ferry  is substantially residential despite the zoning and that the DCA consider this.  We have also recently learned that One Front St restaurant failed one of the standards listed in the code, so we have a temporary reprieve.  You might consider writing directly to Commissioner Jonathan Mintz,                                                         http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/html/contact/contact.shtml and cc Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The relevant Administrative Code:

The Administrative Code under which DCA must issue a license except for the reasons set forth in Administrative Code of the City of New York follows.  The following (highlights and underlines added) is from Title 20, Chapter 2, Subchapter 20, Section 20-361:

  20-361  Issuance  and  renewal  of license. a. The commissioner may
  refuse to issue or renew  a  license  to  an  applicant  only  upon  the
  occurrence of any one or more of the following conditions:
    1.  the  applicant,  licensee, its officers, principals, directors and
  stockholders owning more than ten percent of the  outstanding  stock  of
  the  corporation  have  not  submitted complete and accurate information
  required by the department in connection with:
    (a) an application for a license or renewal thereof;
    (b) an application for the approval of a change of ownership;
    (c) the furnishing of a record of convictions for offenses as provided
  in paragraph five of this subdivision;
    (d) the  furnishing  of  financial  information  and  records  by  the
  applicant,   licensee,   its   officers,   principals,   directors   and
  stockholders owning more than ten percent of the  outstanding  stock  of
  the  corporation  concerning  the source of funds used or intended to be
  used in the operation of the licensed business and the amount  of  total
  funds each such individual has invested in the business;
    2.  the  premises  on  or  in  which  the  licensed  business is to be
  conducted have not been certified as  in  compliance  with  the  health,
  fire,   buildings,   zoning   and  water,  gas  and  electricity  safety
  requirements and standards established by the laws of the city and state
  of New York or any  other  governmental  authority  having  jurisdiction
  thereof;
    3. with respect to a new license application for the premises on or in
  which  the  licensed  business  is  to be conducted, there is no current
  certificate of occupancy to operate a  public  dance  hall,  cabaret  or
  catering establishment;
    4.  the  applicant,  licensee, its officers, principals, directors and
  stockholders have not complied with the regulations  of  the  department
  applicable thereto;
    5.  the  applicant,  licensee, its officers, principals, directors and
  stockholders owning more than ten percent of the  outstanding  stock  of
  the corporation have been convicted of:
    (a)  any of the following offenses and there is a relationship between
  the offense and the conduct of a public dance hall, cabaret or  catering
  establishment:
    (i) an offense within article two hundred of the penal law relating to
  bribery involving public servants;
    (ii) a felony within article two hundred ten of the penal law relating
  to perjury;
    (iii)  an  offense  within article two hundred thirty of the penal law
  relating to prostitution offenses;
    (iv) an offense within article two hundred forty-five of the penal law
  relating to offenses against public sensibilities;
    (v) an offense within section 260.20 of  the  penal  law  relating  to
  unlawfully dealing with a child;
    (b)  any  other offense which is a felony under the laws of this state
  or a crime committed in violation of the laws of any other  jurisdiction
  which if committed in this state would be a felony;
    (c) any offense which is a misdemeanor involving the premises on or in
  which the licensed business is to be conducted.
    6.  the  applicant,  licensee, its officers, principals, directors and
  stockholders owning more than ten percent of the  outstanding  stock  of
  the  corporation  have suffered or permitted the premises on or in which
  the licensed business is to be conducted, through improper or inadequate
  maintenance and supervision, to be used for the commission of any of the
  offenses set forth in paragraph five of this subdivision;
    7. the applicant, its officers,  principals,  directors,  stockholders
  owning more than ten percent of the outstanding stock of the corporation
  and  employees thereof at the premises on which the licensed business is
  to be conducted have at least three times been proven to be in violation
  of  the  provisions  of  subchapter one of chapter five of this title
[The Consumer Protection Law]
of
  this code or of any regulations promulgated thereunder.
    (b) The commissioner shall  not  issue  or  renew  a  license  if  the
  applicant,   licensee,   its   officers,   principals,   directors   and
  stockholders owning more than ten percent of the  outstanding  stock  of
  the  corporation  have  not  paid, within the time permitted by law, any
  fine, penalty or judgment duly imposed in  connection  with  or  arising
  from  the  use,  occupation  or  operation  of the premises on which the
  licensed business is to be conducted.
    (e) Each applicant and licensee shall notify the department in writing
  by registered mail, return receipt requested, within three business days
  of receipt of notice of service of a summons for a violation relating to
  the operation of the business licensed or  to  be  licensed  or  to  the
  premises on or in which the business licensed or to be licensed is to be
  conducted  and  of  a  conviction for any offense set forth in paragraph
  five of subdivision a of this section occurring after the filing date of
  the application for a license or a renewal thereof or  occurring  during
  the term of the license.
    (f)  In  the  manner  prescribed in rule three hundred eighteen of the
  civil practice law and rules, each applicant or licensee shall designate
  an agent, a substitute agent and a successor agent for receiving service
  of process and communications from this department  located  within  the
  city  of  New  York.  Proof  of such designation shall be filed with the
  license application at the department.
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