NOVEMBER 14, 2018
A regular meeting of the Village of Lakewood Planning Board was held Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 7:30 PM, in the Board Room of the Anthony C. Caprino Municipal Building, 20 West Summit Street, Lakewood, N.Y., with Chairman Martin Idzik presiding. Board members present were Richard Rose, John Jablonski, III, John Shedd and alternate member Jennifer Leister. Also present was Village Clerk/Secretary Joseph M. Johnson. Absent were Board member Jeffrey Slater and Building Inspector Jeff Swanson.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by John Jablonski, III, seconded by Richard Rose, to approve the minutes of the last regular meeting of the Planning Board held August 15, 2018.
Adopted: 4 ayes, no nays (Idzik, Rose, Jablonski, Shedd, Leister)
SPECIAL USE PERMIT
SALE & SERVING OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
LAKEWOOD CINEMA 8171 WEST FAIRMOUNT AVE.
Dipson Theaters, Inc., Williamsville, N.Y., has submitted an application for a Special Use Permit regarding their desire to sell and serve alcoholic beverages (beer, wine & cider) to patrons over the age of 21, as now permitted by New York State Law, at their Lakewood Cinema 8 movie complex. In accordance with Section #25-14, (C), #14, [Highway Business (B-2) District], of the Village of Lakewood Zoning Law, the establishment of a bar in a B-2 zoning district requires a Special Use Permit. NOTE: A Bar is defined as any establishment, however designated, at which alcohol is sold for consumption on premises as a primary use to twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the patrons [minimum of ten (10)] on a regular basis.
Planning Board Chairman Idzik asked Mr. Michael Clement, a representative from Dipson Theaters, Inc., how many of their theaters already sell and serve alcoholic beverages.
Mr. Clement indicated that Dipson Theaters do not presently sell and serve alcoholic beverages in any of their theaters yet, but have submitted applications for permission to do so at theaters located in Amherst, N.Y., Williamsville, N.Y., Lancaster, N.Y., and here in Lakewood.
Mr. Clement then briefly explained to members of the Planning Board the safeguards that will be in place when patrons do elect to purchase an alcoholic beverage. He said Dipson Theaters is instituting their own policies and protections. Firstly, a movie patron must purchase a ticket and regardless of age, show an ID to purchase an alcoholic beverage, which will be electronically scanned. The patron will then receive either a stamp or a wrist band identifying them as at least 21 years of age. Mr. Clement said all the alcoholic beverages sold will be dispensed into a clear glass, which will be different from any other beverage container that is sold at the theater. He said an individual will only be able to purchase a drink for him or herself and be limited to a maximum of two (2) drinks per movie. Mr. Clement indicated these safeguards are being put into place to protect themselves and their staff from the New York State Liquor Authority.
Mr. Clement said this is a new venture for Dipson Theaters and “we” don’t want to be a bar or known as a bar. He noted the concession stand closes fifteen minutes after the last show and so too will the sale and serving of alcoholic beverages.
Chairman Idzik said he has been in a movie theater in Chicago where alcohol was served and it didn’t appear there were any problems.
Mr. Clement said thirty-five states currently allow alcoholic beverages to be sold and served in theaters. He indicated that all the employees dispensing alcoholic beverages must go through the appropriate training regime as required N.Y.S. Liquor Authority.
Board member John Jablonski asked Mr. Clement what prevents a legal drinker from passing a drink to someone underage.
Mr. Clement said nothing. Just like in any other venue whether it be a stadium, arena, etc., that person would be breaking the law. He did add, regular checks of the theaters will be conducted by members of the staff during the movies.
Board member John Shedd asked Mr. Clement if there would be any added security.
Mr. Clement said no extra security is being planned, and that this part of the business is going to be a very small percentage of our overall sales. In speaking with a friend who runs a theater in Meadville, PA, where alcohol is sold, it represents 2% of his revenue. Mr. Clement said if Dipson Theaters, Inc. liquor license is approved by the State of New York, it will likely provide an opportunity to expand the number and variety of food items that are currently sold at theaters.
Chairman Idzik indicated that the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts in Jamestown sells alcoholic beverages but doesn’t have the checks and balances in place that the Dipson Theaters, Inc. has. Mr. Idzik added he is not aware of any problems arising there due to the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Board member Richard Rose asked Mr. Clement the question, why get into the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Mr. Clement said it is a way to increase revenue which is the main motivating reason, plus our movie patrons have asked us for years to consider serving alcoholic beverages. People who have had the experience in other states, love the idea they can enjoy a beer while watching a movie.
Board member Jennifer Leister agreed, saying it is something that can work well in a lot of places. She said unfortunately the fear some people may have is that movie patrons will become intoxicated and reckless. However it appears Dipson Theaters, Inc. has measures is place to address those fears.
Mr. Shedd said the two (2) beer maximum is a good idea.
Mr. Clement said our movie patrons will have a choice to purchase a beer or not, however doing so isn’t going to be inexpensive.
Chairman Idzik asked if anyone on the Planning Board have any more questions or comments they would like to make.
Mr. Jablonski indicated that although the prices for alcoholic beverages sold at the theater may prohibit any potential problems, he cannot endorse the idea of the possibility having beer and/or wine passed from a person of legal age to someone underage.
Ms. Leister said she doesn’t have an issue with Dipson Theaters proposal to sell and serve alcoholic beverages at Lakewood Cinema 8.
Mr. Shedd said, as a parent, a concern of his would be dropping a teenage child off at the cinema and he or she could end up sitting next to someone imbibing.
Mr. Clement indicated that if there is any suspicion of a patron becoming intoxicated or someone arriving at the theater intoxicated our staff will not hesitate to call local law enforcement. He reiterated that Dipson Theaters isn’t a bar. With minimum wages increasing practically every year, counting all our theaters, it costs an extra $ 60,000.00 annually to maintain the current work force. It represents a huge “hit” on the expense side which forces us to increase prices. With the sale of alcoholic beverages, Mr. Clement said we are hoping to off-set the increased labor costs while at the same time maintain other prices.
Motion by Chairman Idzik, seconded by Jennifer Leister, that it is the recommendation of the Planning Board for the Board of Trustees to grant/approve the Special Use Permit application as submitted by Dipson Theaters, Inc., Williamsville, N.Y., whereby they will be allowed to sell and serve alcoholic beverages, (beer, wine, cider), to movie patrons over the age of 21at the Lakewood Cinema 8, 171 West Fairmount Ave., upon being issued an appropriate Liquor License from the New York State Liquor Authority.
Adopted: 4 ayes, (Idzik, Rose, Shedd, Leister), 1 nay (Jablonski)
Board member Richard Rose said he wanted to take a minute or two to address a situation that surfaced at a previous meeting of the Planning Board whereat a developer was unprepared when introducing a particular project as proposed.
Mr. Rose said with that in mind, he has drafted a Site Plan Review checklist which takes into consideration the specific requirements as listed in Section #25-89, [Site Plan Review], of the Village of Lakewood Zoning Law. The thinking behind such a checklist is if a developer or applicant fails to provide everything required as requested by the Building Inspector, then the project cannot move forward. Mr. Rose also indicated that a specific timeframe be set to submit materials to the Building Inspector, such as two or three weeks before a scheduled meeting, for the item to be included on the agenda.
Mr. Rose said in the end, the process would make it easier for the Building Inspector, Planning Board and the applicant.
Mr. Shedd said he wholeheartedly agrees with Mr. Rose, saying every work place that he has been in has such a checklist in place, adding it should mimic what is noted in the local zoning code. He said it is important to have a complete set of plans and appropriate applications submitted in time for review by the respective boards and general public.
Mr. Rose said, having worked for developers over the years, they like to know and understand what exactly the plan review requirements are and what they need to submit.
He then asked each Planning Board member to review the draft checklist when they get a chance and to make to any comments. Mr. Rose said similar checklists could be drafted for use by the Zoning Board Appeals and the Building Inspector with regards to building permit applications.
Chairman Idzik said, out of courtesy, it would be a good idea to make members of the Board of Trustees aware that such checklists are being drafted for consideration.
Meeting adjourned: 7:51 PM
Joseph M. Johnson