Community boards in the East Village, the Lower East Side and elsewhere, fed up with noise and traffic, are so aggressively using their power to try to block or delay liquor licenses that some in the restaurant business say they are thinking much harder about opening new places in these parts of town. Profits from wine and liquor can be crucial to the success of a restaurant, especially a new one.
Last month, the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, who represents lower Manhattan, introduced a bill that would eliminate the exemptions from what is called the "500-foot rule." This rule, which became part of the State Liquor Authority regulations in 1993, prohibits the granting of a new full liquor license to an establishment that is within 500 feet of three other licensed bars or restaurants.
In Allston and Brighton the issue is not about new licenses but transfers of existing ones. Even still, a density limitation like this could be interesting to consider, especially near residential areas.