June 7, 2015 By Christian Murray
The Dog & the Duck, a gastropub located at 45-20 Skillman Avenue, got the approval it needed from the Community Board Thursday to add 12 outdoor seats.
The approval was controversial and was not rubber stamped like most applications for side-walk seating.
The bar had faced strong opposition when its application to increase the number of outdoor seats from 16 to 28 was initially reviewed by the community board’s Land Use Committee.
“I can’t even image that people in the neighborhood would approve this,” said Lisa Deller, the head of the committee, citing the noise and traffic that the extra seats might generate.
However, Deller decided the committee should not weigh in on the application and that the full board should come to its own conclusion.
The Dog & Duck’s application received the backing of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. He spoke in support of the proposal at Thursday’s meeting—about two hours before the full board voted on the application.
“[The Dog & Duck] has made 46th Street a better place to work and raise a family,” Van Bramer told the board. “I want to support this application since small businesses are the life blood of the neighborhood,” he said. He added that the Dog & Duck has also been part of the renaissance of Skillman Avenue.
James Dolan and Padraigh Connolly, the owners of the bar/restaurant, came to the meeting armed with a petition in support of the application. Dolan said that they had generated 500 online signatures in support of the application and more than 100 handwritten signatures.
Dolan told the board that the additional seats satisfy all city regulations. Furthermore, he said, that the bar is a good neighbor–supporting local charities and non profit groups throughout the year.
However, there were residents who live near the establishment who came out against the application.
Jane Schreiber, who lives across the street from the bar/restaurant, alleged that the bar keeps its sidewalk seating area open late at night–beyond the hours it is supposed to. Furthermore, she claimed that when the bar has live music playing inside, it often leaves its windows open and the noise can be heard down the street.
Meanwhile, there were several residents who supported the establishment. “If the Dog & Duck fails, corporations could come in and we will never have a face to talk to again,” said January LaVoy, a resident.
Stephen Cooper, the first-vice president of the board, said Thursday that noise is a fact of life when living next to a restaurant with outdoor seating.
“I have never spoken to a direct neighbor [of a restaurant] who has said they don’t hear noise—it happens. The question is, are they [the neighbors] being unreasonable or are they being reasonable.”
“While we have to be concerned about residents,” Cooper said, “we also have to be concerned about businesses too.”
After further discussion, the board took a vote and the application was approved. There were 30-plus members in support of the application, with four opposed.
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