INWOOD – A controversial restaurant's application for a sidewalk cafe was approved by the local community board's licensing committee over the objection of the NYPD and many locals during a meeting Wednesday night.
Community Board 12's liquor committee green-lighted Café Tabaco & Ron's application to add a sidewalk café outside their eatery on 501 W. 214th St. at 10th Ave. — with stipulations — after the restaurant said it needed it to increase capacity for customers and bring in more business, said owner William Segura and his representative, Teddy Gonzalez.
The move came over the objection of opponents — including officials from the NYPD's 34th Precinct — who said the restaurant has repeatedly ignored calls to remedy issues with noise, used public streets as their own personal valet parking spaces and even set up an illegal sidewalk café in the past.
“I live a half a block away and I hear the music,” Aldemar Diaz, chair for CB12's licensing committee said. “Unless you walk by and see that it’s a restaurant, it seems like you’re walking by a nightclub.”
NYPD Officer Matthew Peña said the precinct has already issued the restaurant 29 noise complaints so far this year alone, adding it’s a “significant amount for the area,” considering the noisy 1-train towers over the 10th Ave. strip.
“They were on the chronic list last week, but they’ve fallen off,” said Peña.
According to him, the precinct is concerned with where the restaurant is planning to put the sidewalk café. Segura said it would be on the 214th St. side of the restaurant.
Diaz said the parking issues with the restaurant is also hazardous, as patrons and valets leave cars double or triple parked nearby.
Gonzalez said the restaurant was working with a valet company to alleviate the flow of traffic, but agreed to work with other local parking lots before the general board meeting on Tuesday, June 28.
“We’ll fix it,” Gonzalez said about the parking. “That’s not a problem.”
Officer Peña also said the restaurant received a summons last year for operating a sidewalk café without a license for approximately a year, which Segura said he wasn’t aware of.
Segura said he was out of the country for several months while that sidewalk café was in operation.
“This would’ve looked a lot better if you would’ve come in, and said we made a mistake and operated the café without a license,” Diaz said.
Gonzalez said the sidewalk café will be in operation daily from 5 p.m. — when the restaurant opens — to 11 p.m.
The committee ultimately unanimously approved the sidewalk café with several stipulations, including adding adding a sound limiter attached to music systems at all time, address the parking problems, schedule meetings with Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and refrain from playing any music while business doors are open.
But neighbors said they still had serious concerns.
“I live up the block — having knowingly moved to a neighborhood near where I was going to hear the train all the time — and I hear them every night,” said resident, Jennifer Fox.
The application will now have to go before the full CB12 board for a vote on June 28.