Ortega On Beer: Save The Backyards - A Call To Action.
So I get this email from my friend & local bar owner Dave about this bill that's been introduced in the New York State Assembly that requires the "reasonable guidelines" that all bars/restaurants in areas w/populations over 1 million (ie: New York City) & have either rooftop or backyard areas to have a permit to do so. Now that alone doesn't sound all that bad. However, the bill also states that you have to have table service as well as (and here's the kick in the pants) mandatory hours of service. You must close at 10PM Sunday-Thursday, 11PM Friday-Saturday. But that's not all! On top of that, you would have to get approval from the community board for said permit.
What I find most shocking about this bill is that it was introduced by Assemblywoman Joan Millman, who's not only from Brooklyn, but represents neighborhoods (Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, Gowanus, Park Slope, Columbia Street Waterfront, and Prospect Heights) where said rooftop/backyard areas are part of the charm & vibrant culture of the local scene.
To quote Assemblywoman Millman:
"This legislation seeks to give community boards and local residents more input in their own neighborhoods...,In response to numerous complaints from constituents, I crafted this legislation to balance the needs of local residents with the objectives of neighborhood businesses.”
So to recap, local Brooklynite is trying to control local businesses through the community board. I'm still looking for where the "objectives of neighborhood businesses" are met.
To quote Dave:
"We disagree with the legislation as we believe that businesses should be able to police themselves and settle individual grievances with neighbors....Enforcing this random rule on everyone is a lazy approach and does not consider the variety of unique situations."
For example, what if the backyard has a single picnic table that holds six people? This legislation is telling bar owners that they need to have a server on hand just for this one table. My biggest complaint about this bill is the stipulation that allows the community board a say in the matter. Having heard many an unflattering story about various community boards around the city, it seems a bar owner will have an uphill battle ahead of them. As you can see, this bill is making less and less sense. I think if Assemblywoman Millman actually talked to neighborhood establishments, they could have reached a more logical solution that's actually beneficial for all parties involved.
Here's where you can get involved: Please demonstrate your support of NYC bars and restaurants by giving this facebook page a thumbs up!
Please help me.