Park Slope residents are fighting a sports bar they say will turn a quiet residential street into a booming hub for drunks.
A fiery throng of neighbors stormed a Community Board 6 meeting on Monday to protest the proposed Lucky Lou’s Bar and Grill, which would skirt residential zoning restrictions to open on Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street, amid a cluster of public institutions.
Owner Luis Cordero — who initially sought to sling hard liquor until 4 am — has since changed his plan, saying the establishment will serve “four-star food” and cater to families.
“It’s more of a restaurant than a bar,” he said. “I’m on top of things.”
But dozens of neighbors — church pastors, parents and lawyers among them — are still not convinced, saying his plan would “clash” with surrounding schools, public libraries and churches.
“This is a place to get drunk while eating chicken wings,” said Linda Steinman, a lawyer who lives nearby. “A bar here would be a real aberration and a lot of lives would be affected.”
Sixth Avenue has remained a quiet and insular street for years — despite its position between the Park Slope’s two bustling avenues — and residents want to keep it that way.
“This area is a diamond for our community; it’s a treasure,” said parent Charles McMellon. “Do we want our kids to see this when they come out of day care?”
Lucky Lou’s — which already boasts an illuminated sign featuring a horseshoe letter “U” — is within two blocks of PS 39, Beanspouts Nursery School, the library branch at Ninth Street and two churches.
It’s also two blocks from the popular Park Slope Ale House, which serves beer, wine and any cocktail imaginable.
If Lucky Lou’s opens, it would be one of only three restaurants in a 19-block stretch of Sixth Avenue between Flatbush Avenue and Ninth Street.
Cordero, who owns the building, is grandfathered in under the building’s original commercial zoning, which also applied to the former grocery store and the Kohzee Cafe, which operated in the same space.
Even so, some neighbors turned the public meeting into what felt more like “Matlock” trial, calling into question Cordero’s character — and citing thousands of dollars worth of unpaid city fines.
Indeed, the city has slapped Cordero with at least 16 violations — including bad plumbing, garbage violations and improper signage — in the past three years.
“His behavior has shown a lack of concern for neighbors,” said John Florio, who lives nearby. “We don’t see why that would change.”
But Cordero — who said he has lived in the neighborhood 40 years — said he is being misunderstood, blaming some problems on merchants who operated businesses inside buildings that he owns.
“I’m taking care of it,” he said.
He also hired a lawyer who agreed to a “trial period” during which the bar would close at midnight and only serve beer and wine.
That wasn’t good enough for some neighbors, who argued the bar’s physical distance from a church also causes problems for the recovering alcoholics who attend meetings at nearby churches. What’s more, it must legally be over 200 feet from a church — and it is either 201 feet or 198 feet, depending on who is doing the measuring.
“We see what alcohol does to individuals and families,” said Pastor Ainsworth Joseph of Kingsboro Temple of Seventh-day Adventist church. “Now it’s dividing this community.”
Community Board 6 will take up the issue next month. The meeting has not yet been scheduled.
©2011 Community News Group
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