CB 10 opposes liquor store for Ampere Avenue

Wine merchant Clifford Pitt is asking the community’s blessing for a liquor store at 3202 Ampere Avenue (above), the site of the former Loparrino Deli. - Photo by Walter Pofeldt

A businessman looking to open a ‘fine wine shop’ on Ampere Avenue got a rude awakening when he was confronted by many angry residents of Spencer Estate at a Community Board 10 hearing.

During the public forum on Tuesday, May 13, members of the community gave Mt. Kisco wine and spirit consultant Clifford Pitt a thumbs down on his proposal, presently being considered by the State Liquor Authority, for a wine shop at 3202 Ampere Avenue.

“I spoke out of respect for the community,” Pitt said after the meeting. “If I had known there would be this much concern, I would have met with the community board a lot sooner.

Members of the board grilled the merchant, before community residents who live near the proposed shop had a chance to speak their mind.

Two days later, before a full board meeting, CB 10 voted to send a letter to Albany opposing the wine shop, named County Club Wine Shop. It’s, an advisory decision not taken lightly by the SLA.

The opposition confused Pitt, who noted there has been a shop at the location for as long as most can remember.

“There were businesses there before,” said Pitt, who wants to take over the lease on the site of the former LoParrino deli. “It is not like I am taking a house and turning it into a store.”

The license would allow the sale of both wine and liquor, though Pitt said the store would sell 95% wine.

 Pitt is subleasing the property from the owner of Barino’s Market on Ampere Avenue, who in turn is leasing it from Charles LoParrino.

Many of the neighborhood residents believe that Barino’s Market is subletting the property to a liquor store to prevent another deli from opening on Ampere.

Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns is not overly concerned with Barino Market’s decision behind sub-leasing the property, but is more worried about having another liquor store in the neighborhood.

“Every weekend, the 45th Precinct issues 20 to 25 C-summonses for underage drinking,” Kearns said. “We don’t want our young people to have to go through [incarceration].”

Kearns asked for a signed pledge from Pitt, as to his commitment to fighting underage drinking.  Pitt declined.  

“We are not here to be a deterrent, we are here to provide a service,” Pitt told the angry crowd.

Kearns noted that he had a gotten a signed pledge from oil retailer Hess, which operates convenience stores in the confines of CB 10, promising high-tech devices to find bad IDs and better training of store employees.   Pitt said the situation is different from the three other stores on Ampere selling beer. 

 “We are not looking for a brown bag customer,” Pitt said. “We want to be the Starbucks of the industry.”

A decision by the SLA is expected to be handed down in the coming weeks. 

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