Dear Governor Cuomo:
We write regarding the vacancy on the State Liquor Authority (SLA) Board. With the legislative session beginning soon, we request the vacancy be filled expeditiously with someone from New York City, which has the largest concentration of SLA-licensed businesses in New York State.
With more than half of the state’s approved on-premise license applications as of 2015, New York City residents and community boards have a deep understanding of the issues surrounding SLA licenses, applications, and attendant interactions with the surrounding neighborhood. Many of these issues are uniquely relevant to New York City, such as the unregulated density of beer and wine permits and the relative ease with which such permit holders are able to skirt the 500 Foot Rule when applying to the SLA for an upgraded liquor license. While we welcome small businesses and restaurants in our community, it is important there be an SLA Commissioner who understands the lived experience of residents in, for instance, lower Manhattan, where there is an atypically high density of licensed premises. Such a person would be able to make fuller use of community boards and their official advisory capacity, which is, unfortunately, lacking in the current structure.
We respectfully reiterate our request that you fill the vacant SLA seat with a candidate from New York City so that community concerns are more appropriately taken into consideration. We firmly believe a member of these concerned communities will be best equipped to serve in this capacity.
Thank you for your attention to this very important issue. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Senator Hoylman’s office at 212-633-8052. We look forward to hearing from you