Bloomingdale Civic Association’s Response to Steven May’s “Open Letter to the Community”
May 12, 2011
The Bloomingdale Civic Association (“BCA”) has read Mr. Steven May’s “Open Letter” dated today. While the BCA looks forward to working with Mr. May as he works toward the opening of Engine Company 12, it is necessary to clarify a few things about the BCA.
First, the BCA fully supports Bloomingdale-area businesses and their efforts to serve the Bloomingdale community. This includes supporting restaurants that seek liquor licenses. Recently, we supported the applications of Big Bear Café and Boundary Stone, and we hope to support future applications from businesses that will add value to our community.
Second, our policy concerning support of liquor licenses is that we consider all requests for support during a duly noticed public meeting after the business owner has filed the license application. Big Bear Café and Boundary Stone followed this process and the BCA supported them. The principal reason for this policy is that Bloomingdale residents deserve to know what the business owner is asking them to support and the official record of that information is found in the filed and accepted application (acceptance occurs before the licensing board issues the placard for posting). In fact, Bloomingdale residents already have approached us regarding Engine Company 12’s intended use of the patio. While Mr. May has likely discussed this issue in prior meetings, the use of the patio will be governed by the request in the application and the terms of the license.
Third, the BCA is not delaying Engine Company 12’s opening. To be clear, the liquor licensing process does not require that a letter of support from a civic association (or ANC) be obtained prior to the submission of a liquor license application or at anytime thereafter. Likewise, there is no requirement that such letter must be submitted with a liquor license application. We were pleased that Mr. May sought our support and offered to consider his request once he filed the application. Any claim that the BCA is the cause of Engine Company 12’s failure to open for business on July 1, 2011 is disingenuous – at best. Even if the liquor license application was filed today, in a best case scenario, the application could not be approved and issued before July 1, 2011. Further, I have found no support in the District’s regulations and through a call to the licensing board for Mr. May’s claim that not acquiring a letter of support prior to the submission of an application would cause a delay in application process. Therefore, assuming that the lack of a liquor license is the only reason Engine Company 12 is unable to open on July 1, 2011, the blame for not opening on time would seem to fall at the feet of the person(s) responsible for filing the application in a timely fashion.
Mr. May’s letter this morning was the first time we have heard Mr. May suggest that the BCA is preventing the opening of Engine Company 12. Mr. May first requested an opportunity to request a letter of support via an email sent Thursday, April 14, 2011, three days before our April meeting. In my response I asked if the application had been filed and indicated that there would not be enough time before the April meeting to alert neighbors that the issue would be discussed and that a vote may be taken. Mr. May said the application had not been filed and that he would “move ahead without the letter at this point….” Perhaps if the person(s) responsible for filing the application had in fact moved ahead without the letter and submitted the application there would not be a delay in Engine Company 12’s opening date, again, that assumes liquor licensing is the sole reason for the delay – but I digress. During the April meeting, Mr. May stated that the BCA would not consider a letter of support until the application was filed and indicated that he would file the application shortly thereafter. On Wednesday, May 4, 2011, in preparation for the May BCA meeting, I emailed Mr. May to find out whether the application had been filed and his response was “I am dropping it off on Friday”, which I took to mean last Friday, May 6, 2011. The application was not filed last Friday. Yesterday, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Hugh Youngblood informed me that the application would be filed this Friday. Even if the application is filed this Friday, it will have to be reviewed and accepted before the placard is issued. At no point have I or any other Bloomingdale Civic Association board member indicated that the BCA will not support Engine Company 12’s application for a liquor license. The fact is that there is currently no application for us to support.
We at the BCA are pleased to represent Bloomingdale and to assist Bloomingdale business owners with their entrepreneurial dreams. Despite Mr. May’s “Open Letter,” our offer to him still stands; we would be pleased to consider his request once the application is on file.
Teri Janine Quinn
President, Bloomingdale Civic Association