A new state law lifts noise limits for the state's amusement parks, carnival rides and beach bars, leaving some Point Beach officials and police wondering how that will impact the town.
The new law means that amusement rides and bars on the oceanfront will no longer be subject to noise restrictions mandated in the state's 1971 Noise Control Act.
Mayor Vincent Barrella said the new law will be discussed at the Point Beach Borough Council meeting on Tuesday night at Borough Hall on New Jersey Avenue.
He said he does not know yet what, if anything, the town can or should do in light of the law being passed. But he did say he's disappointed Trenton made the decision that he believes should have remained a town decision.
"This is the state again telling towns what it can and can't do to regulate a quality of life issue," he said.
The new law (see attached PDF), signed by Gov. Christie on Tuesday, states that it "shall not be a violation of the Noise Control Act of 1971" for a business to operate a beach bar, amusement park or carnival ride "existing and operating as of Aug. 31, 2011" during normal business hours from May 15 through Oct. 15.
The law was sponsored by a number of Democratic and Republican state lawmakers, mostly from Atlantic and Cape May counties, along with Assemblyman David Wolfe (R-10) and co-sponsored by Senator Andrew Ciesla (R-10), who just left office after opting not to run for reelection. District 10 includes Point Beach.
Senator Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May County, told the Asbury Park Press that he sponsored the bill for the benefit of older amusement parks that have become surrounded by newer residential communities where many residents have complained about noise. Another key sponsor was Senator Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic County), a former Atlantic City mayor.
Point Beach Detective Patrick Petruzziello said on Thursday that the police administration has read the law and has written to the mayor, council and municipal attorney asking them to review it to determine what, if any, impact it will have and if any local ordinance needs to be modified.
"Anytime you have the ability to affect the quality of life, you have to look at it," he said.
Paul Werner, president of the board overseeing the Harborhead Condominiums, which front on the ocean and the Manasquan Inlet, near Jenkinson's Inlet Bar, released the following statement on Thursday night:
"As is likely the case with all residents of Point Pleasant Beach, Harborhead residents are concerned about enjoying the quality of life in town that we have all become accustomed to.
"And while we understand the importance of the town's tourism industry, welcome the town's many seasonal visitors, many of whom include Harborhead residents, and enjoy the atmosphere that goes along with beach living, we hope that this new law signed by Governor Christie does not serve to prioritize profit over community and quality of life."
A call to Jenkinson's was not immediately returned. Martell's officials also could not be reached. Jenkinson's and the industry organization it belongs to, the New Jersey Amusement Association, supported the new law.