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Booze Denied for Restaurant That Would 'Destroy' Upper West Side Corner

By Emily Frost | December 2, 2015 4:21pm
 The Riverside Tower Hotel wants to open a high-end restaurant in its lobby.
The Riverside Tower Hotel wants to open a high-end restaurant in its lobby.
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DNAinfo/Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — A high-end restaurant planned for a residential stretch of Riverside Drive that locals said will "destroy" the neighborhood was rejected by the community board in its bid for a liquor license — a decision the board guaranteed would be upheld by the State Liquor Authority. 

Community Board 7 members voted unanimously Tuesday to disapprove the liquor license application for the unnamed fowl-focused restaurant at the base of the Riverside Tower Hotel at 80 Riverside Dr.

The board's Business and Consumer Issues committee rejected the application in late November, after neighbors claimed the forthcoming eatery will fill the area with food smells, produce trash and create congestion in the quiet area. 

While a community board's vote typically serves an advisory decision for the SLA, which makes the final call, CB7 members said the authority agreed to follow the board's lead, assistant district manager John Martinez said. 

"Whatever the community board decides here, [the SLA] will vote that way," Martinez said at the Tuesday meeting, noting that the agreement was unprecedented. The authority's decision to vote in step with the board stems from the fact that the restaurant sits within a residential district, he told DNAinfo Wednesday.

The SLA has said previously it takes community board recommendations seriously in deciding whether or not to approve liquor licenses. 

"Approval of this application would set a precedent because there exists no commercial establishment on Riverside Drive," board member George Zeppenfeldt-Cestero said at the Tuesday meeting. 

The SLA did not respond to request for comment. 

David Bagley, who lives near the hotel, said he and hundreds of other nearby residents don't just oppose the restaurant, "we’re in an uproar."

The eatery would bring a host of problems to the non-commercial area, including "trash, traffic...smells that carry, loitering, drinking and smoking on the curb," he added.

Locals previously said the spot would bring "disgusting" odors, rats and congestion to the quiet corner. 

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