Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hoyt Street Alliance Criticizes Oyster Bar Decision & Community Board 6

The Hoyt Street Alliance, which led the fight against the controversial oyster bar that Jim Mamary wants to open at 294 Hoyt Street, are circulating a letter about developments and plans after Community Board 6 voted in favor of a liquor license for the establishment last week. They say they will fight the liquor license at the state level, that the procedure used for community meetings was flawed and that there are questions about whether the bar is too close to a church to get a license, among other issues. Here are a few excerpts:
Hoyt Street neighbors were extremely disappointed by CB6’s decision last week to support the creation of a new liquor bar in the center of a 5-block-long residential area. The location, 299-301 Hoyt Street, was occupied for the previous 25 years by a pediatrician...The possibility of a 48-foot-wide barroom intruding between such iconic neighborhood sites, in an area heavily traveled by children, is an unfortunate image for the neighborhood and for Brooklyn as a whole...Whether or not the bar intrudes on the 200-ft. buffer space required by law between it and the church to the north and the elementary school to the south is still a matter for debate; different maps disagree on the exact distance. That the bar is not welcomed by its residential neighbors is certain. However, since the Community Board has now taken the extraordinary step of recommending to the State Liquor Authority that the proposed liquor license be granted, it will be a tough fight to stop it...

...CB6 urgently needs to craft new methods to address the runaway proliferation of eating and drinking establishments in South Brooklyn neighborhoods. Much confusion exists about what the Board’s role is supposed to be in this process. We hoped they would act as advocates for local residents, and were unhappily surprised to learn that few members saw themselves in that light...In at least this instance Community Board 6 did not consider the best interests of the community. From what we could tell many of the members do not really see it as part of their job. Yes, our neighbors may have been a bit upset by the prospect of a bar, but that should not be surprising. We did not know that our impassioned pleas for help would cause us to lose a popularity contest among the board, and that our penalty would be to get a bar on our block. We thought CB6 would be interested in hearing why a bar at this location is a bad idea, but that was not the case. CB6 needs to look at itself in the mirror over the way it handled this issue, and the community in general should look at CB6. We ask everyone who cares about this neighborhood to join us in demanding that the board represent everyone, not just the bar owners.
The contentious issue is bound to live on for a while, not to mention the broader issues raised about the process and how it was handled. CB6 is holding some neighborhood sessions on issues raised by bars and restaurants.

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