Following a remonstrance petition filed by neighbors of Los Imperios to stop the establishment’s liquor license renewal, the Department of Consumer Protection has scheduled a public hearing for Nov. 30.
By Ronni Newton
An upcoming hearing at the Department of Consumer Protection could have a major impact on the fate of Los Imperios, because following that hearing the Liquor Control Commission will decide whether or not the West Hartford establishment’s liquor license will be renewed.
Residents in the neighborhood of the 904 Farmington Ave. business filed a remonstrance petition with the State Liquor Control Commission on Sept. 22, objecting to the renewal of Los Imperios’ liquor license.
A public hearing has been set for Thursday, Nov. 30, at 10 a.m. Department of Consumer Protection spokesperson Lora Rae Anderson said Tuesday that in the meantime, the status of the establishment’s liquor license is “active under review.” The renewal date was Nov. 13, 2017, and Anderson said the business has requested renewal and is technically allowed to be open and serving alcohol in the interim.
Farmington Avenue resident Melinda Montovani, who filed the remonstrance and is listed as the “agent for service” on the petition, said she received a certified letter last Tuesday notifying her of the hearing date and time. Since then she has been trying to get the word out, to get as many people as possible to attend the hearing or provide written testimony.
On a flyer she has been distributing to neighbors and other West Hartford residents, Montovani said the reason she and others object to the renewal of the liquor license is: “To offer a solution to the ongoing disturbances that occur after 12 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights when Los Imperios closes and people leave the establishment. Collective neighborhood complaints include waking up neighbors after 12 a.m. on a regular basis, fights breaking out, yelling profanities, dumping beer cans, nip bottles, liquor bottles, and cups they leave the bar with on our front lawns, breaking glass bottles in the street where we park, blaring music, blocking Farmington Avenue with their cars and having a block party at 1 a.m., people engaging in sexual activity in their cars and leaving their used condoms on people’s lawns, people urinating on lawns and bushes. Additional safety concerns regarding cars speeding on residential streets, and the fact that there have been gun shots more than once.”
The action by residents to prevent renewal of Los Imperios’ liquor license is just one of the actions underway against the establishment.
Los Imperios had its entertainment license revoked by West Hartford Police Chief Tracey Gove late this summer, and has continued to defy the revocation by hosting DJ entertainment several times a week. The Town of West Hartford filed a complaint in Connecticut Superior Court on Oct. 2, requesting that Los Imperios comply with town ordinances and repay expenses incurred for assigned police detail.
The establishment’s landlord has also filed with the court to have Los Imperios evicted due to non-payment of rent.
Court dates for both the town’s complaint and the eviction have been set, and scheduled for later this month.
According to Montovani, the situation in the neighborhood has not improved since the entertainment license was revoked.
“It’s worse than ever,” she said. “The noise is unbelievable. There’s fighting outside our window, people urinating in our backyard.”
Montovani said that she and other neighbors walk around with trash bags every weekend, picking up broken glass left in the parking lot of their condominium building and other trash strewn around the property.
Although Los Imperios has not complied with the law, Montovani praised town officials and police, and said they have been very responsive to neighborhood complaints.
Montovani said it’s time for the community to unite and take action. The petition she filed had 57 signatures – just from residents in the immediate neighborhood – but she is hoping that people from throughout town will attend the Nov. 30 hearing.
Those who cannot attend the hearing can submit written testimony. Anderson said that letters can be mailed to the Department of Consumer Protection, Liquor Control Commission, 450 Columbus Blvd., Suite 901, Hartford, CT 06103. Letters must be dated and signed, and include the name and address of the author.
The hearing will be held on Nov. 30, beginning at 10 a.m. in Hearing Room A, Plaza Level North of the State Office Building, 450 Columbus Blvd. Parking is available on the street and in the Morgan Street parking lot.
Montovani advises anyone attending to arrive by 9:30 a.m. to undergo check-in through security, and to be sure to bring a driver’s license or other official identification.
This is the second time a remonstrance petition has been filed against Los Imperios. In 2015, according to the Memorandum of Decision provided to the remonstrants, the Liquor Control Commission did not find “substantial evidence” to deny the application for a liquor permit.
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