Board voices concern over self-certification for bars

One local volunteer group has turned thumbs down on a new policy implemented by the State Liquor Authority (SLA), whereby those seeking liquor licenses are allowed to self-certify key data needed to obtain them.

Not that they were asked — a fact that also rankles members of Community Board 10, a local advisory body that weighs in on a wide range of issues relating to the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton.

Indeed, at the board’s December meeting, which was held in the community room at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road, members excoriated the SLA for having instituted the policy, and complained about being left out of the loop, only learning about the change when someone noticed an article about it in the New York Times

They then voted unanimously to send a letter to the agency objecting to the new process, as hadbeen recommended by the board’s Police and Public Safety Committee during an earlier meeting held at the board office, 8119 Fifth Avenue.

“The agency is supposed to send us information and ask for input,“ Dean Rasinya, the board’s outgoing chair, had complained during the committee meeting. “We shouldn’t be learning of it from articles.”

While the SLA believes that the new policy will speed things up for applicants, that’s not necessarily a virtue in the eyes of CB 10 members, who scrutinize applications forwarded to them for establishments within the board’s catchment area, paying particular attention to the applicant’s prior record, to problems that have been voiced by the community and to such issues as whether the establishment offers valet parking in such a way as to inconvenience local residents.

“Our committee noted that the board hasn’t heard from the SLA on this subject and that we should be notified of this important change,” remarked Susan Pulaski, the chair of the Police and Public Safety Committee.

In addition, as board Secretary (and soon-to-be Vice Chair) Brian Kieran had remarked during the committee meeting, “We have experience with self-certification with the Department of Buildings, and we know the problems and pitfalls with that. It isn’t a good experience overall.”

“This is a really bad idea,” agreed Jeannie May.

“This is not what we want to see happen in our board area over the issuing of liquor licenses,” stressed Pulaski before board members voted.