SLA Circus Disco ABCL § 64[6-a]

In 1980, the Court of Appeals held that the SLA exceeded it authority when acting as a zoning authority. Circus Disco v. NYS LIQ AUTH, 51 N.Y.2d 24, 431 N.Y.S.2d 491, 409 N.E.2d 963 (1980). The Legislature apparently responded by adding § 64[6-a]

There are, however, more fundamental reasons. Parking and traffic are essentially problems for the police or a traffic control commission (see, e.g., General City Law, § 20, subd 32) or for zoning authorities. Presumably, therefore, traffic and parking congestion were taken into account when the zoning decision was made and are not matters to be separately considered by the State Liquor Authority in relation to licensing 37*37 an establishment permitted by the zoning.[5] And the more clearly is this so in view of the absence of any reference in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law to traffic or parking. We have held in the zoning context that traffic and parking problems may be considered by an administrative body only when “such policy or standard was declared in the statute” (Matter of Diocese of Rochester v Planning Bd. of Town of Brighton, 1 N.Y.2d 508, 525) and in the context of a licensing law that the Commissioner of Licenses of the City of New York could not refuse to license a theater because the “`noise, traffic congestion and attendant parking problem resulting from the erection of a theatre at the proposed location would be a serious detriment to the general welfare, public health and safety of the community'” (Matter of Small v Moss, 279 N.Y. 288, 293). We see no reason why a different rule should apply to the State Liquor Authority, to which as already noted the Legislature has not delegated the authority to consider these problems.





See MATTER OF ELDRIDGE ST. BLOCK ASSN. v. New York State Liq. Auth., 2022 N.Y. Slip Op 34206 (Sup. Ct. 2022).,33

MATTER OF APPLICATION OF BARFREEBEDFORD v. New York State Liq. Auth., 2014 N.Y. Slip Op 51336 (Sup. Ct. 2014).,33

In determining whether the granting of a license is in the public interest, the Authority may consider the following factors:

(a) The number, classes and character of licenses in proximity to the location and in the particular municipality or subdivision thereof.
(b) Evidence that all necessary licenses and permits have been obtained from the state and all other governing bodies.(c) Effect of the grant of the license on vehicular traffic and parking in proximity to the location.
(d) The existing noise level at the location and any increase in noise level that would be generated by the proposed premises.
(e) The history of liquor violations and reported criminal activity at the proposed premises.
(f) Any other factors specified by law or regulation that are relevant to determine the public convenience and advantage and public interest of the community.
(ABCL § 64[6-a]).

The Legislature codified these guidelines in 1993 in response to Matter of Circus Disco v New State Liq. Auth., 51 NY2d 24 (1980), wherein the Court of Appeals prohibited the Authority from denying a license based on noise, parking, or traffic. The 1993 amendment thus empowers the Authority, in consultation with community leaders, businesses, and residents, to consider the quality of life impact arising from the oversaturation of a neighborhood with bars. (Mem. of Assemblymember Koppell, reprinted in 1993 Legis Ann, at 515-516; see Cleveland Place Neighborhood Ass’n v New York State Liq. Auth., 268 AD2d 6, 10 [1st Dept 2000] [Legislature imposed guidelines on Authority “to assure that quality of life impacts are fully incorporated into the responsible state decision-making apparatus.'”]). Accordingly, the Authority’s public interest finding may not be perfunctory. (Matter of Waldman v New York State Liq. Auth., 281 AD2d 286 [1st Dept 2001]).

Categories: New York State Liquor Authority, Statutes and Regulations