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Point Beach Will Still Have Midnight Bar Closings

Council rejects effort to maintain 2 a.m. closing time

The Point Beach Council narrowly rejected an effort Tuesday night to keep the current 2 a.m. closing time at local bars.

Instead, an ordinance that imposes a midnight closing time will go into effect on July 1 (see attached PDF).

The council voted 3-2 to not give bars the option to pay a fee, based on maximum occupancy, to stay open until 2 a.m.

Councilmembers William Mayer and Stephen Reid voted in favor of giving bars the option to stay open until 2 a.m. Councilmember Tim Lurie was absent. Councilmembers Bret Gordon, Michael Corbally and Kristine Tooker voted no.

"A lot of people in this town are going to be hurt by this," Reid said before casting his vote to approve the amendment. Before voting he also questioned attorney Sean Gertner as to whether or not the amendment was actually lawful — a question the councilmember previously asked at an earlier meeting.

Gertner maintained the motion was "enforceable," despite a May 14 letter from the Department of Community Affairs to Mayor Vincent Barrella, which said the ordinance "may be unlawful."

During April and May, the town and boardwalk businesses had several private negotiation sessions, with the hope that an agreement could avert the need for earlier bar closings.

Jenkinson's and Martell's offered a joint payment of $160,000 per year for five years, totalling to $800,000, and then the arrangement would be re-visited.

But Barrella said despite actions to try to resolve things without the earlier closings, businesses rejected the option of instituting earlier last calls, disallowing stackable drinks and better monitoring alcohol consumption.

"We need to realize it's not a pro-boardwalk or pro-resident issue. We're one town," Mayer said. "We're a tourism town, and it needs to be controlled, not shut down. The impact that this will have on our economy is extreme." 

Point Beach resident Robert Dixon said if the town closes the bars earlier, it will end up shutting the whole town down after midnight. "If no one wants to come here because there is nothing to do here anymore, you're limiting the access of our town," he said.

Barrella said the earlier closings are a result of people being "unwilling to make adjustments to avoid the problems. I think it will enhance our tourism business and bring families back. But people are making every effort to sabotage what we're trying to accomplish."

Gordon made note of the "record number of arrests" made over Memorial Day Weekend: 226 arrests, 180 borough violations, up from 144 in 2011; and 46 criminal violations, up from 44 the year before. 

Jenkinson's and Martell's have appealed last month's ordinance to close bars at midnight. They filed the appeal with the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and now the town has an opportunity to respond to the appeal.

The two largest boardwalk bars have argued all along that closing the bars at midnight will unfairly hurt their businesses.

mattmurphy June 20, 2012 at 01:38 AM
PennyStocks, I am so glad that I haven't invested in you!
Spooner June 20, 2012 at 03:44 AM
PennyStocks- Thanks for clearing up the matter. Read Aug 2, 2011 Council meeting minutes. . .it appears that one: Barrella made overture to BW to work out an agreement at July 19 meeting which Hennessy used as an argument to vote no. . . two: what's even stranger is Councilman Lurie who engaged in no discussion on the referendum...with the exception of saying: "but am not in favor of the 12 o’clock bar closing". . .and then there was Rizzo who voted by telephone? I think it was a mistake. . .But unfortunately the guy who was pushing it...in one breath you read. . .how he complemented Frank Storino at Jenkinsons late Saturday night...and...I guess. . .while he knew the bar closing resolution was going to be on the Tuesday nights agenda. . .Him the chief spokesman promoting it. . .an act of betrayal...putting a knife in Storino's back? http://www.pointpleasantbeach.org/news.php?action=fullnews&id=1257
John57 June 21, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Mr. Dopey, some many errors, no league would want you. You're so thick! I'll type slow for you. All my current postings are about g e t t i n g a police director. Even C. Kelly could figure this out. On to the next blog.
Lenny July 08, 2012 at 08:32 AM
mattmurphy, Who takes care of his own. Please, stick to your creative writing.
Lenny July 08, 2012 at 08:40 AM
PPBBusinessOwner, They can't tell you how much to charge,,,,They can tell you how late you can stay open, if you sell alcohol...Most know that a town has the right to change what time you can serve up too. A business should not dictate or tell a town what they should do. A town has ordinances and laws in them. They can be subject to change or adjusted depending on issues going on in the town. Public safety comes first. If a business does not like the way the town operates or possible new ordinances then they can always leave and go to another town who allows to do what ever your business wants. Maybe you can find one, but I doubt it.

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