Justice is served, and so is alcohol at Union Hall. The city rejoices.
Photo by Rebecca Smeyne
Secret scientists across the city must feel relieved now that Community Board 6 in Brooklyn has removed its finger from the red button set to detonate a measure against Union Hall. Reversing “the nuclear option” passed last week by its Landmarks/Land Use Committee, the full board voted overwhelmingly last night to recommend the approval of a liquor license renewal for the Park Slope venue.
The Union Street hotspot offering a bocce court and offbeat entertainment offerings like the Secret Science Club took a knock to its pallino on May 7 when after a temperamental public hearing, the board’s committee voted in favor of aggrieved nearby residents who charge that Union Hall generates excessive noise and should not have its liquor license renewed unless quality of life issues are addressed.
Had the committee’s recommendation been persuasive to the full community board last night, it would have been transmitted to the State Liquor Authority for consideration when the body makes its renewal decision later this month.
Instead, the general community board overturned the committee’s motion from last week, and voted to recommend the renewal for Union Hall. Head over to Brownstoner to explore the theory that the committee’s motion backfired because it was advanced by a member who also happens to own a bar in competition with Union Hall.
“Elected officials, agency representatives and even people from the community have vouched for the bar owners saying they have been responsive and attentive,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board 6, when reached today for comment. “If the board were to have voted against Union Hall, what kind of message would that send?”
Jilted neighbors on Union Street expressed disappointment in a process that they say favors the rights of business owners over residents, but they still feel optimistic.
“Despite last night’s decision,” said Union Street resident Jon Crow in e-mailed remarks this morning, “We remain confident that CB6 is an educable board, that admittedly is facing this issue armed with little of no information on how to base their decisions.”
Crow was referring to the fact that the community board only began to review applications for original and renewal liquor licenses in 2006. Union Hall originally applied for its license in 2005. Since the board began making reviews, it has issued one denial and one approval of an original license, in addition to last night’s renewal.
Union Hall has not yet replied to a request for comment.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 15, 2008