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Liquor Stores Oppose Application for Another

Rival owners say Huntington Station is saturated with liquor stores, cite proximity to Whitman High School as cause for concern.

Several liquor store owners are organizing opposition to a proposal for another such store in Huntington Station.

Milan Patel, who owns Huntington Wines & Liquors on West Jericho Turnpike, and Ken V. Babi, who owns West Hills Wines & Liquors on New York Avenue, have contacted numerous officials, including the State Liquor Authority and various town and school leaders, to raise their objections.

They oppose a license request by Sarvpreet Singh, who has applied for a permit to open Kevin's Discount Wines & Liquors at 295 W. Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station.

The two men, who quickly brought together another 10 owners when they learned of the application, have two main objections: with 16 liquor stores already within 3.5 miles of the proposed store, the area doesn't need any more.

Note: Each star on the corresponding map indicates a liquor store.

They also say the store, in a space created between Harbor Freight and at the corner of West Hills Road and Jericho, would be too close to . By their estimates, the store would be just 130 feet from Whitman property, but meets state rules, which measures distances door to door.

"Having a high school so close, the applicant is bound to have issues with students that walk to and from school in the surrounding neighborhood," Patel wrote to the liquor authority.

They aren't shy about citing the harm they see could come to their business if the application wins approval.

"I went from making a very good living to barely making a living and I do work hard," Babi said. "You have an oversaturation of liquor sales in this area. I have a personal stake obviously," he said. "But to allow another liquor store in this area would seem a bit overkill."

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In addition to the many competitors, the group says that a population decline, along with increasing costs and tough economic conditions, are harming their businesses. Both say they are losing their customer base as people move away and that increased costs, such as state taxes, are seriously cutting into their ability to make a living.

As for the proximity to Whitman, South Huntington schools superintendent Dr. David Bennardo said the district would not step into the matter. "While our school district's primary concern is always the well-being of the children, it is inappropriate for us to get involved with this type of private business decision. We trust that whatever business opens in that location will act responsibly and be good neighbors in the community," he said.

"The Huntington community, already saturated with liquor stores, certainly does not need another located so close to a high school, especially when the three closest liquor stores are less than .8 miles from the applicant," the opposition merchants wrote recently in a letter for school board members.

The SLA notifies existing liquor stores of applications and invites comments. Owners can respond by stating their views and providing paperwork on the status of their businesses. Then a hearing will be scheduled in New York on the request. Babi and Patel said they plan to attend the hearing to oppose the application.

Babi and Patel cite other cases where New York State communities have fought back against allowing too many liquor stores in a neighborhood and won. They say other signs were quick to join the opposition to the new store, and plan to pursue their opposition at the SLA and with the Town Board.

Singh could not be contacted and the State Liquor Authority did not reply to a request for comment.

Ron August 14, 2012 at 10:46 AM
These two guys are pathetic. Too close to a school ? Why? Are they afraid of WW teachers having liquid lunches? Be honest boys....this store will cut into your business...period.They should be ashamed of themselves.
Nicole August 14, 2012 at 10:56 AM
I think that we should give some real tough consideration chasing away anyone who is willing and able to fill some of the vacant store fronts in our town with a legitimate business. Their concerns are personal- not public. I agree with Ron.
E August 14, 2012 at 11:18 AM
If you read carefully they sites both the over saturation of liquor stores causing declined profit and the proximity to the high school as reasons
JSC August 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM
One would hope that when the town gives approvals for new businesses coming into the area, that they would consider the impact on similar businesses nearby as well as the impact on the community. Do we really need this many liquor stores so close to each other? Wouldn't the town want to encourage businesses coming in to be successful and not hurt the already successful one nearby? This is like the situation in the village where we have an overabundance of restaurants and bars. Sure everyone likes to frequent these places, but how can they all be successful with a limited number of patrons to spread around? Someone in town hall needs to be responsible for which businesses get approvals in certain locations.
larry newhouse August 14, 2012 at 01:26 PM
It's called COMPETITION. Their wallets are their main concern. Let free enterprise determine who makes it and who doesn't.
Scott August 14, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Of course their "wallets are their main concern." What business owner would react otherwise? They came out and said as much. They just used the school as another reason to support their cause. If you owned a business that wasn't doing as well as before, would you be okay with yet another competitor nearby? "It's called competition!" It's also called declining revenue and those of us on fixed salaries with no business overhead don't really know the feeling. With businesses being shuttered regularly, I'd be pretty motivated to prevent that from happening to me. I'm not saying it fair or cool to shut another guy out, but I don't blame these fellas for being worried about their bottom line. That's why businesses exist: to make money.
Robert W August 14, 2012 at 02:45 PM
The new store would be a goldmine! Now that the Huntington Country Inn is basically a welfare motel 100 yards across Jericho Tpke to get your liquor would be a score!
tony August 14, 2012 at 03:15 PM
As long as the new business is compliant with building and other codes, I don't want the government interferring with private enterprise to the extent that they will try and protect existing stores and make a subjective judgements about what busnesses should be permitted or not. Let the free market system and competition decide who succeeds.
Chris F August 14, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I agree with Tony 100%. Stinks for these guys if they cannot compete, but free enterprise is the winner here
Clifford Sondock August 14, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Wow. Is this Long Island? I love these guys who support free enterprise and free markets! Tony, Ron, Robert, Nicole, Larry...I applaud you! JSC, your fascist comments are in the minority...at least on this posting. There is hope....
Pat & Erin August 14, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Pretty sad commentary if the only businesses looking to rent are liquor stores. Free enterprise should be the rule of thumb here gentlemen...looking to use WWHS and or the students as a deterent to allowing a business that would compete with yours kind of makes me think what are you doing wrong or are your prices so high that some competition would sink you? Shame on these existing businesses trying to place blame without just cause. Parents should focus on doing their jobs raising their kids and policing them. Not store owners. As long as you're not selling to the kids, why all the posturing? Maybe if you tried finding different tenants ie; more to your liking/no competition thus enabling the community to flourish instead of wasting time whinning you'd have a better outlook - personally and professionally. I'd go to the competition just because your attitude insults me. Good luck!
H.M. August 14, 2012 at 05:15 PM
The postings opposing these guys who are trying to make a living are ignorant. I bet not one of you knows the cost of having a small business let along running one. The saturation of any same business, is a negative effect. Your basically saying, 'take 1/3 of your paycheck' instead of what you deserve putting in countless hours into a business you built. The people that commented, how many of you are business owners? How bout you take your 9-5 desk job and take a third of your normal pay? Think before commenting sometimes.
Joe L August 14, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Besides everything posted above, which I happen to agree with, there really ARE too many liquor stores around here... O_o
Pat & Erin August 14, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I believe that the other posters as well as myself aren't being ignorant at all. We just like an even playing field for all...we're opposing their logic. I for one am sympathetic for anyone trying to make a living during this extremely difficult economic period, but I don't think that their platform is one born of concern for the community. The moniker "bully" came to mind when I read the article, not oh these poor businessmen. Everyone should think before commenting, yourself included H.M.
Pat & Erin August 14, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Unfortunately, have to agree with you there are A LOT of liquor stores, but they have a right to be here. That's a community issue. Sadly, all across the nation it's the same picture. At least we're not over run with pawn shops and strip clubs. Those type of establishments really signify how low an area has reached. Then again, all the study groups have documented that as the economy tanks, liquor sales go on the rise.
Robert W August 14, 2012 at 06:34 PM
There are 3 pawn shops in the area . 1 on RT110 in Melville by McDonalds 1 on Jericho by Park Ave and 1 on Rt 110 and Nassau Rd. There are also 2 strip clubs on Jericho and a Hookah lounge. I guess we are slowly reaching bottom!
phil k August 14, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Whats wrong with another liquor store, the Town approves a Bodega on every corner. And what about " storefront" churches that don't pay taxes!!! This Town is falling apart!!
tony August 14, 2012 at 08:36 PM
@phil k: I'm suspicious of the intent of your comments (anti-immigrant?), however, I don't think the sky is falling in our great town. Also, I believe the "store front" churches you refer to are probably renting the space from a landlord who pays the real estate taxes.
pat k August 14, 2012 at 09:34 PM
if there are to many liquor stores maybe they should close down one of there stores
Clifford Sondock August 15, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Let the market rule and shop at your favorite stores. The best will survive and another type store will take its place. More important, relax zoning regulations so that better retail space can be produced.
Hikerr August 15, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Too many liquor stores? How about too many car dealers or 7- Elevens in this town. Lets get rid of them too!
Chris F August 16, 2012 at 01:01 AM
That's why if you open a business you would like it to require a skill. If it just requires cash and a dream you are setting yourself up for failure. Ignorance is bliss..........
BK13 September 07, 2012 at 03:31 PM
lol sad but true
imran patel September 10, 2012 at 03:59 PM
these both stores are too expensive thats why they are scared from the discount liquor store
John Springer, NY Liquor License Specialist September 25, 2012 at 01:16 PM
If the door-to-door measurement to the high school is 200 feet or more, the Liquor Authority will not consider the school to be a problem. A liquor store is not a bar. Students don't go into liquor stores, and people don't hang outside liquor stores. The number of liquor stores in proximity could be a problem. If there really are 16 stores within 3.5 miles, the Members of the Liquor Authority may conclude that the public is adequately served. It will be up to the applicant to persuade the Members that their location meets "Public Convenience and Advantage," a subjective standard that is not clearly defined in state law.
Just another Long Islander January 27, 2013 at 08:27 AM
My heart definitely "doesn't" weep for these two business owners. They can clothe their concern about other competition being about the school nearby; but please, get real. Anyone can see through this pathetic ruse. They care about their bottom line- period. Considering the amount of people battling alcoholism right here on L.I.(, a very serious addiction to beat), and the escalating high rate of dwi's on Long Island, can I really be that sad for two business owners who sell alcohol? I won't even get into how many DEADLY DWI's are on record per year. 1 death because someone drove drunk is 1 death too many. It also always seems to be the drunk person that survives. Oh, the irony of life. Yeah, we don't really need that many liquor stores- that is true, but not for the bogus reasons these men state.

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