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State Approves Liquor License Without Community Input, Ignores Local Opposition


April 22, 2016 By Michael Florio

The State Liquor Authority has granted an East Elmhurst establishment a liquor license despite opposition from Community Board 3, local officials and residents.

YTS Corporation has been granted a liquor license for their establishment at 88-19 31st Ave. It was the company’s third attempt at a license, after previously being rejected by the SLA.

CB 3 has recommended denial of the application in the past, and last year, residents even started a petition against the application that was presented to the Board and the SLA.

However, neither the Board nor residents had an opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter this time.

YTS Corporation went before the Board’s Business/Economic Development committee, which handles liquor licenses, on April 6, according to committee chairman Edmund Rosenbaum. The committee was then going to recommend denial of the application to the full Board at its next regular meeting, which took place Thursday night.

But they did not get the chance. The SLA approved YTS Corporation’s liquor license on April 12, despite the board’s history of opposing it.

The SLA stipulated the business must close by 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends, according to a SLA spokesman. The bar had originally planned to stay open until 4 a.m., according to Rosenbaum.

“It is important to note that this application does not fall under the 500 Foot Law, consequently there is a presumption under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law that the license should be granted unless there is a compelling reason why it should be denied,” the spokesman said.

Locals, however, argue that there are several compelling reasons why the license should not have been granted.

“This is a quiet residential block,” resident Francis Cheng told CB 3 last night. “I’m not saying bars don’t belong, but they belong on a commercial block.”

Council Member Costa Constantinides and State Sen. Jose Peralta have also both written letters to the SLA agreeing with the Community Board.

“Regrettably, this business was not a good neighbor in the past and was a burden on the surrounding community,” Constantinides wrote. “For this reason, the community does not trust that the applicant will be a good neighbor moving forward.”

He believes that the SLA should not be approving licenses until it hears from the community board.

“We have to let them [the SLA] know this is unacceptable,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Board is looking for options concerning YTS moving forward.

“I have not heard of the SLA rescinding their decision,” CB 3 District Manager Giovanna Reid said. “But we are going to look into doing anything we can to get them to do so.”

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