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A controversial catering hall in Floral Park that has drawn the ire of neighbors for its customers’ rowdy antics was granted a liquor license, prompting outrage from elected officials.
Residents said they saw customers bring in alcohol to Shahi Darbar at 83-47 258th St. and witnessed patrons having sex on top and inside their cars at night.
Other complaints included broken bottles of alcohol on the sidewalk, double-parked cars and loud noise.
A resident who asked not to be named said when he went to complain about some of the behavior recently, he was pushed by a Shahi Darbar employee.
Community Board 10 voted against a liquor license for Shahi Darbar last year, but the state Liquor Authority approved the application anyway in June without notifying the board about the hearing.
“We were very disgusted,” said CB 10 member Seymour Finkelstein, who lives near the establishment. “We feel that we had no say in the matter. Why weren’t we notified to the hearing?”
State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) wrote to state Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen July 27 asking the body to suspend the liquor license and set up a public hearing in the community.
“This establishment has become a nightmare for local residents,” the senator wrote.
Padavan said he has yet to hear back from the authority.
“The people on that block, their quality of life has dropped,” he said.
City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) said Shahi Darbar “has become an unwelcome intrusion and a nuisance to the community.”
“I support the local community board, which voted against a liquor license for this establishment,” Weprin said in a statement. “I do not understand how the state Liquor Authority could approve this application. If the catering hall is causing problems in the community now, introducing alcohol can only exacerbate the situation.”
When the residents’ complaints were relayed to a man who answered the phone at Shahi Darbar last month, he claimed the establishment had a liquor license and denied the catering hall was the cause of any quality-of-life issues in the neighborhood.
But the 105th Precinct, CB 10 and civic leaders said they were not aware Shahi Darbar had a liquor license.
The man said Shahi Darbar had a security guard to prevent unruly behavior.
CB 10 Chairman Bryan Block called for “zero tolerance” of the catering hall by the 105th Precinct and said Shahi Darbar “is totally out of control.”
Angela Augugliaro, CB 10’s second vice chairwoman, said the city should institute what she called a community impact study to determine how new businesses will affect the neighborhood.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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