New York’s longstanding law that prohibits granting liquor licenses to establishments within 200 feet of a school or place of worship is being reconsidered by state legislators, thanks largely to the lobbying of a catering hall on Park Avenue and East 63rd Street, the New York Times reported.The catering hall, run by Rose Group, leases space in a large building at 583 Park Avenue owned by the Third Church of Christ, Scientist. Though that church does have a small congregation, the problem arises from the Central Presbyterian Church, situated next door, which compelled the State Liquor Authority to deny the group’s application for a liquor license. A State Supreme Court ruled in January that though churches can operate catering halls, this property was primarily a catering hall and so the SLA acted properly.
In response, Rose Group began spending $30,000 a month on lobbyists, the Times said, in an effort to convince state lawmakers to make an exemption. Yesterday, the state Senate voted 34-18 in favor of making an exemption for catering halls in the Rose Group’s predicament. It’s unclear whether the State Assembly will take up the measure before the end of the legislative session today. [NYT]