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A Bay Ridge panel wants a local karaoke spot to start singing a new tune.
Community Board 10 voted to support the renewal of crime-plagued Dyker Heights karaoke joint Crown KTV’s liquor license on Jan. 27 — but only with a litany of stipulations — because the neighborhood panel’s members feared that if they voted against it, the State Liquor Authority would simply rubber-stamp the druggy, stabby sing-a-long spot’s application with no conditions at all.
“We were worried that they’d go to the SLA and the SLA would just approve them,” said Sandy Vallas, a member of the board’s Police and Public Safety Committee. “We thought we might as well have stipulations.”
The liquor authority is obligated to write the board’s requests into the 64th Street nightspot’s new license — and CB10 put in a long list of demands, including certified security guards, surveillance cameras, heavy-duty soundproofing, a ban on promoters renting out the club, strict hours of operation, a 21-and-up-only entrance policy, and regular meetings with the panel.
The terms of the license are intended to combat the ongoing problems at Crown, where in 2011 a man stabbed five people in a brawl, and in 2010 police witnessed a man doing cocaine off the bar.
The board reported that neighbors continue to complain about noise levels, underage drinking, and drug dealing at the lounge, as well as party-goers exiting the establishment at 7 and 8 am. This is of special concern to the community because PS 69 is just around the corner on 63rd Street.
“We’re worried about some of the possible influences on the children,” said the school’s principal Jaynemarie Capetanakis, a member of CB10.
Crown was the subject of 50 calls to 911 and eight arrests in 2013 — two of them on felony charges — but the liquor authority’s files show no violations occurring since 2011. Neither the police nor the state agency could explain the discrepancy.
In 2012, the authority slapped Crown KTV with $37,000 in fines for an incident of underage drinking and drug use from years earlier, but stopped short of revoking the hangout’s license — which CB10 had requested.
The State Liquor Authority only looks at its own files when deciding whether to revoke an establishment’s license. And the revocation process is totally separate from the renewal process, which a state spokesman said usually results in an automatic approval so long as the bar completes the necessary paperwork and submits it on time.
Some dissenters on the board doubted the effectiveness of any stipulations, given Crown’s reputation as a scofflaw establishment, and wanted to vote against renewal — and pressure local leaders to close the lounge.
“They never obey any stipulations, why are they going to obey this? They’re not even going to read it,” argued board member Joseph Sokoloski. “Why can’t our public officials get involved and have the place padlocked?”
A spokesperson for Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park) — whose district covers troublesome nightspot — promised to bring the situation to the attention of the newly-elected pol.
No representative for Crown KTV attended the meeting, and repeated calls to the bar went unanswered.
A 2011 charge against the bar for controlled-substance use is still pending a hearing at the State Liquor Authority.
©2014 Community Newspaper Group
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