The hotel’s liquor license is renewed
The Town Council voted 4-0 Monday (5/22/23) to approve the Greenwich Hotel’s annual liquor and entertainment licenses but left for another day the discussion over whether the hotel could reopen its ballroom and rooftop lounge without seeking zoning relief. Councilor Mike Zarrella was absent.
The town’s food, liquor and entertainment licenses come up for renewal yearly on Dec. 1 but the hotel’s application stalled – the town had granted several extensions to the hotel’s old license – over the question of capacity and its attendant impact on the number of parking spaces the hotel should have to provide. That’s because the hotel had renovated a side area of their bar creating a new entertainment space, complete with a small stage and lighting. Town officials said the renovations allowed for increased capacity so the hotel would need to provide parking or valet services.
Bob Durant, the lawyer representing the hotel, said capacity should be linked only to the limits set by building and fire codes. He noted the Greenwich Odeum had added 85 balcony seats to their existing 365 seats and did not have to apply for additional parking relief.
“We shouldn’t be treated any differently than the Odeum was when they added their balcony,” Durant said.
Prior to the meeting, Durant had convinced town officials the hotel had never abandoned the use of its ballroom and other public areas, since they had been listed on yearly license applications.
But the town remained unconvinced Monday that it did not have some power to set capacity limits for those other spaces, saying the burden of proof was on the applicant to show what the historic capacity was for each of these spaces.
So, now the hotel has a new license with a capacity of 150 (increasing to 200 when the anticipated sprinklers are installed) that will take it through Nov. 30. And both sides agreed the discussion over capacity (and parking) for those other areas of the hotel can wait until the hotel is ready to use them again.
Also Monday, the council, still sitting as the Board of License Commissioners, approved a liquor license for the new Main Street restaurant Downtown Tilly, contingent on the panel’s approval June 12 to lift the town’s BV liquor license cap from 37 to 38.
Feature photo by Ray Johnson. Story posted 5/23/2023