Posted on | March 29, 2012
Written by | Keven Danow and Arielle Albert
On Wednesday, March 9th, the New York State Liquor Authority held an open forum to introduce its new mapping project, called LAMP (Liquor Authority Mapping Project). It is an interactive map that can be found by clicking the map picture at the top of the SLA website home page or at http://lamp.sla.ny.gov/nysla/index.htm.
SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen opened the meeting. He explained his hope that the new system would give licensees, attorneys, applicants, community boards and other interested parties access to the majority of the information which is regularly requested by telephone calls and FOIL (Freedom of Information Law)requests. This would free SLA investigators to concentrate on their core duties: processing applications and investigating violations.
What Does LAMP Do?
The Chairman noted that the Authority had received a number of inquiries concerning the availability of disciplinary history of licensees on the system. Chairman Rosen pointed out that only adjudicated findings are available on the map. Pending actions and those for which a licensee was found not guilty are not made available.
After a brief discussion, Mr. Rosen introduced Joshua Carr, Deputy Commissioner-Internal Audit and Special Projects. Mr. Carr worked with Jeffrey Jukes, an SLA Information Technology Specialist, to put the computer through its paces.
Mr. Carr started with a caveat: Distances on the Lamp map are approximate. They are based upon addresseswhich are created through computer algorithms. Even if they were not subject to computer variations, they do not measure from door to door. Therefore, even though they are substantially correct, there are enough variations to require physical inspections before an attorney provides the Authority with a certification as to the accuracy of an application.
Prior to launching the new LAMP map, the Authority set up industry meetings to discuss what should be included. There can be little doubt that a vast majority of the comments given by industry members were included in the system. The Authority has created a tool which offers licensees, attorneys, community boards and the public a wealth of information.
When the Lamp Map is opened, you must accept the disclaimer statement which explains that the information contained in the map is an approximation. By clicking the “accept” button you enter the map. When you do, a map of the State of New York appears. Across the top are a series of access controls, which among other tools includes: a zoom in/out bar, a drop down menu which allows information layers to be added to the map, a “go to” tab that allows the user to input a specific address and a report tab, which will give a summary of information about the area surrounding a particular location. There are also buttons which allow you to toggle between street and satellite views.
Layers of Information
Although there is a substantial help menu, the LAMP map takes some time for a user to get oriented. If you attempt to layer the map without zooming in to a small enough area, nothing appears. The map legend is located on the bottom of the layers pop-up. It must be clicked to bring up the explanation of the icons which appear on the map. With a little practice, you are likely to be amazed by the wealth of information.
The Layers button will allow you to select what information should show on the map. You can use this tool to select all licenses or to select the license types that interest you. The choices include on-premise, off-premise, wholesaler and pending applications. When you click on the icon which represents a particular licensed premise, pertinent data about the licensee appears, including license name and any authorized dba, address, license number and license type and class.
There are also measuring tools, which can be set to cover an area or to measure distances between points. This can be done either in a straight line or the distance if you were to walk or drive between the points. You can layer in churches and schools. As a result, an attorney representing an applicant for an off-premise license can easily find the four nearest package stores. Similarly, an attorney representing an on-premise licensee can mine the map to discover if there is a school or church within 200 feet, and whether there are three or more on-premise licensees within 500 feet of the proposed premise. Keep in mind Mr. Carr’s caveat: Distances are approximate.
If you use the “go to” button to enter a specific address and then press the “report” button, the LAMP map will produce a report which lists the four nearest package stores, churches and schools within 500 feet, and the on-premise licenses within 750 feet. The map can also be used to determine pertinent information about a particular location, including its SLA zone, the community board with jurisdiction and in which police precinct it is located.
By selecting the “Counties” layer, you can access census information. You can select a spot on the map and run a report from that spot. If you already have a license, you can enter your own address and track pending applications which may affect your business. Clicking on the pending application icons, will provide the current status of the application.
The New Lamp Map is simply a fabulous tool. Chairman Rosen, Commissioner Greene and the men and women at the Authority deserve major kudos. Learn to use it. You will be happy you did!