Pera Cafe Loses Bid For Sidewalk Cafe: Community Board 15 denied an application for a sidewalk cafe at Pera Cafe, a new Turkish restaurant and lounge at 2255 Emmons Avenue, in a near-split vote after members raised questions about pedestrian safety and the restaurant’s own track record.
Pera Cafe’s owners sought to add tables and chairs for outdoor restaurant service in front of the Emmons Avenue restaurant. But the board voted 16 to 15 to deny the license, and the restaurant was blasted by executive boardmember Allen Popper for attempting to run an unlicensed cafe over the summer.
Popper cited Department of Consumer Affairs violations, noting that the cafe was issued violations for operating an illegal outdoor cafe on July 12 and July 24, and was ultimately padlocked on August 6 for the violation.
A representative for Pera told the Board that the violations occurred because the previous owner told them they had a permit and showed them a receipt, which turned out to be erroneous.
But that didn’t fly with Popper.
“You fool me once, you can’t fool me twice. I could understand the first time maybe he thought he had a license, I’ll buy that, we all know people make mistakes,” Popper said. “But he knew when he got the ticket that whatever information he thought [before], he knew wasn’t true, was a lie, was a mistake, and he still continued to put people at risk on the sidewalk.”
Other boardmembers also showed concern that the sidewalk was not large enough to contain a sidewalk cafe, especially in light of two trees in front of the restaurant. A boardmember and representative from the borough president’s Disability Committee also spoke against it, noting the area’s high concentration of seniors and disabled.
Other members, however, defended the business, saying that in the wake of Superstorm Sandy the Board should do what it can to help local businesses.
- Councilman Michael Nelson has increased the frequency his office hosts free legal clinics in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Free legal visits can now be made twice a week, up from twice a month. To make an appointment, call his office at (718) 368-9176.
- Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein spoke about Rapid Repairs, saying that they have increased the level of activity in Gerritsen Beach and are now looking towards Plumb Beach and other hard hit neighborhoods. She notes that if someone is still waiting for assistance from Rapid Repairs, they should contact her office at (718) 648-4700.
- Councilman Domenic Recchia‘s office sent a rep, who noted that they have not been able to return to their office since Sandy, but are stationed in the Warbasse Houses to help.
- Councilman Lew Fidler‘s rep noted that Rapid Repairs has a December 31 deadline for registration.
Other actions and info:
- The Board voted to approve a resolution calling for a change to zoning laws that will allow Zone A residents with below grade-level garages to fill in the garage and make it grade-level, helping prevent future floods from storms like Sandy. We’ll have more on this soon.
- Alternate Side Parking regulations have been reinstated.
- Department of Sanitation will no longer pick up loose debris from Superstorm Sandy after December 31. Homeowners with large amounts of debris to remove must higher a private waste collector.
- The Parks Department will continue to dispose of fallen trees and branches, but you must call 311 or Community Board 15.
- If your regular garbage pickup is Christmas Day or New Years Day, you can put your garbage out after 5:00 p.m. It is not yet clear if they will be collecting recycling.
- The Board’s Toys for Tots campaign was their biggest year ever, donating over 210 toys. The Board thanks the community for their support.
- Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association President Ed Jaworski repeated his request that the Board develop a plan to investigate the cause of 450 active Stop Work Orders and tens of millions of dollars in unpaid fines.
“Bullet Points” is our new format for Community Board 15 meeting coverage, providing takeaways we think are important. Information in Bullet Points is meant only to be a quick summary, and some issues may be more deeply explored in future articles.