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September 26th, 2006

State Senator Martin Connor: Who SoHo needs now

by D. Clark MacPherson

Senator Connor‘s district encompasses parts of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, as well as Tribeca, SoHo and part of Hudson Square. His territory also takes in Pier 40 on the waterfront. Essentially, he represents lower Manhattan on the East Side below 14th street and below Houston on the West Side.
Before we could even describe our list of issues, the Senator spontaneously voiced his concern about the overabundance of liquor licenses in SoHo. He has been considering an initiative that would ban any new liquor licenses in areas like SoHo, across the board. He has expressed the view that similar problems have occurred on the Lower East Side as well as in Williamsburg–where nightclubs and bars have completely transformed neighborhoods, to the detriment of their communities. As the Senator pointed out, even with the most cooperative bar or club owners, the sheer number of late night habitues that are drinking and celebrating make the enforcement of many “quality of life” issues impossible. Recently, he was instrumental in having a new commissioner appointed to the S.L.A., a democrat and a woman from Brooklyn Heights. This change in the make-up of the State agency has had tremendous effects upon its current position on over saturation.

He intends to study the feasibility of creating special zones where no new liquor licenses would be issued; in other words, a cap on how many licenses can exist in a specific area. He would seek to pass legislation that would ban new licenses for additional bars within 500 feet of existing establishments serving liquor (he is considering including this requirement for Beer and Wine licenses as well).

He has also been extremely disturbed by the lack of illegal sign enforcement in SoHo and displeased by Commissioner Lancaster’s apparent lack of effectiveness (at the Department of Buildings) with respect to this issue. As a result, he proposed directing his office to focus on this problem and discussed initiatives to “turn up the heat.”

Senator Connor has been an active supporter of improvement in traffic enforcement, billboard removal, bar/lounge over saturation, pollution and noise abatement issues in SoHo.

We urge voters to support Senator Connor for State Senate in this Fall’s election.

Martin Connor

Filed Under: Articles | New York | Politics





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