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UPDATE: Point Beach Has 10 Days to Respond to Boardwalk Appeal

Boardwalk appeals alcohol ordinance; asks state to block enforcement until appeal decided

 

Point Beach has 10 business days to respond to an appeal filed by boardwalk businesses asking the state to kill a new law that prohibits bars from serving alcohol past midnight, according to a state official.

The town also has 10 business days to respond to and request that the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) "stay" or block local enforcement of the new ordinance until ABC decides on the appeal, said Zach Hosseini, an ABC spokesman.

"We'll make a decision shortly after that (on the 'stay'), we're not going to let this drag out," Hosseini said. The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Hosseini said attorneys at ABC are reading the appeal, along with a voluminous file of approximately 300 pages, including case law cited in the appeal, but are not commenting on its merits at this time. He said he did not know if ABC would schedule a hearing, or what the next step would be, after responses from the town are reviewed.

The state should kill the new ordinance because it was adopted to "extort" money from boardwalk bars and will badly hurt their businesses, according to the appeal filed by Jason Mandia, an attorney with Stone Mandia, Neptune, on behalf of Jenkinson's Boardwalk and Martell's. The appeal was received by state and local officials on Wednesday.

The appeal (see attached PDF) acknowledges that municipalities have the right to regulate the hours of operation of businesses with liquor licenses, but insists that ABC should repeal Point Beach's effort to do just that because that effort is being made only to get money out of the boardwalk businesses.

The ordinance is scheduled for adoption at Tuesday's meeting.

"The council's own comments illustrate that the ordinance was seen as nothing more than a tool to coerce boardwalk businesses to reach a financial settlement with the Borough," the appeal states. "Such a purpose is not a legitimate reason for enactment of limitations on hours of operation.

"....the action of the mayor and council must be reversed and the ordinance repealed as it is not supported by the record, it's unreasonable and it was enacted in bad faith," says the appeal.

In asking the state to "stay" enforcement of the ordinance, the appeal says that enforcement "will require firing" an unspecified number of boardwalk bar employees "at a very difficult economic time for all."

The appeal makes no mention of the fact that owners and attorneys for Jenkinson's and Martell's had repeatedly met with elected municipal officials and attorneys to try to hammer out just such "a financial settlement," which, in fact, resulted in the two businesses offering to pay $800,000 over a five-year period to help pay for police services.

Last summer's weekends had the highest rate of crime, disorderly persons' offenses and criminal mischief, according to police.

Ultimately, the mayor and council did not vote to accept the offer, with some of them saying it lacked a mechanism to make sure it was paid each year, as well as other details that still needed to be worked out.

The appeal also does not mention that in the written offer of $800,000,

Making that statement and then later telling the state that the town was wrong to try to negotiate fees and also wrong to consider an ordinance offering an option to pay fees to serve alcohol until 2 a.m. is "inconsistent," said Mayor Vincent Barrella on Thursday afternoon.

"I think ABC should dismiss this," Barrella said. "I don't know how they (ABC) would get around saying that regulating bars' hours of operation is within the jurisdiction of the municipality.

"We could have done nothing or we could have just closed the bars at midnight and not offered an option to pay a fee," Barrella said. "So, because we offered something else as a compromise, that becomes the basis to deny us the right to do what we have a right to do? That's right out of Alice in Wonderland!"

Marilou Halvorsen, Jenkinson's Director of Marketing, said she had not yet seen the appeal, referred questions to Ed McGlynn, an attorney for Jenkinson's, and said she would ask him to call Patch.

Mandia did not return a phone call on Thursday.

Municipal Attorney Sean Gertner said he cannot yet comment on the appeal, but that he will prepare responses in the time allotted by the state.

The issue of bar closings and potential fees that may go along with it has generated a lot of controversy outside of Point Beach, as well as among its full-time residents of approximately 5,000.

For example, some of the boardwalk employees do not live in Point Beach and are concerned about losing their jobs or making less money in wages or tips.

Also, Point Borough Mayor William Schroeder has said he is concerned about bars closing at midnight because of the potential for bar patrons to rush into Point Borough while bars there are still open.

He said he feels Point Borough police can handle drunken driving problems through enforcement.

"What I'm more concerned about is a bunch of people leaving a bar in the Beach at midnight, getting in a few cars and driving into the Borough to get to a bar, maybe without paying enough attention to how they're driving," Schroeder said. "I'm concerned about them being careless, passing in the wrong spot or turning in the wrong spot."

"I would hope this can be worked out between the town and the boardwalk," Schroeder said. "It just can't be that hard."

Patch will update this story if more information becomes available.

Rick Ricky June 09, 2012 at 03:39 AM
@Out of the beach forever, not that I don't agree with you. I am just a little confused are you answering yourself or are you just another one who is impersonating each other. I do agree with you, but most can't afford to pay 25k a year for a private school, obviously you have some money if you can pay that on top all your other bills. Good for you and God Bless you if you can afford that. I live in Brick and I paid tuition for the Beach Schools at one time. Like you said mediocre at best. Yes, it is the parenting in PPB just as other towns, you just might not hear and see it all in a larger town. But it is not all the parents who are at fault. Personally it is the local generation after generation who kids are trouble and getting away with it all. It is called special treatment. The schools are not innocent either.... They pick and support all the wrong kids being they are also turning a blind eye and also giving in to special treatment. They will pick peer leaders who set bad examples over the kids who really deserve it. In Antrim a child was picked that came in to the school who clearly was drinking. They base it on who they know and the reason they are going down the tubes slowly. It is a real shame and I blame the administrators because they can stop it all at the top if they wanted it to. Superintendents can stop issues if they wanted to. It is poor excuses to claim nothing can be done.
Rick Ricky June 09, 2012 at 03:42 AM
The leaders in this town should really start thinking things through thoroughly. They should lay all the cards on the table and think before they respond or reply to these ordinance,.
Nick Carraway June 13, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Out of the Beach, you raise some interesting issues about the PPB school system. Personally, I don't think it's the school's job to parent the children. Teaching a child how to say "no" to certain types of dangerous behavior has to come from home. The goal of our local education system is to educate and socialize, to some degree. But, we all know that there's plenty of drugs and alcohol out there in the big world, including colleges, and the kids have to be taught while they're still living at home how to resist those temptations. As disturbing as it is to hear that there may be drugs in the local high school, high schools have been plagued with drug problems for generations. The question is always what is the drug of choice. I like your idea about sending the Mayor to our high school between classes because I truly believe that his authoritative style is exactly what's appropriate for high school students, not for governing a town. But, they can't ever let Barrella near the schools as I'm sure that a plague of bullying complaints would be filed by the parents. As for the college issue, I am concerned that PPB clips the wings of our young birds before they can even fly. It's a lot to expect of a child who is accustomed to a class size of 20 kids or less to be able to compete in a college atmosphere where Freshman classes are 100 kids or more.
F.Y. June 17, 2012 at 01:34 AM
OOTBF/Nick: You both raise some interesting issues about the school system. I am also a little confused with OOTBF post. There is two post and one is agreeing with the other and confirming he is so right about the school system. Is it two different post with the same name? Nick, I agree the school should not have to parent the children. Like you said parents should be teaching them early on about many social issues of the world today. When you have parents who are missing in their children lives that would rather be partying themselves that actually condone bad behavior in exchange for their own partying needs. Many children follow in their parents foot steps. But... I disagree the school should ignore children who are drinking or doing drugs on school property by turning a blind eye to the students who they know their parents. I also agree with you that the police should be on top of the known lot by the school and also stop turning a blind eye to the students who they know their parents or went to school with them. It is very common and popular in PPB. The children brag about it according to my kids that also attended the PPB school system some time ago. It was happening now and according to rumors it is still happening. These are leaders that should be setting examples. When a blind eye is turned. What are you actually teaching the students?
F.Y. June 17, 2012 at 03:00 AM
OOTBF: BTW, My children told me the same things too when they attended PPB school system. Stoned, drunk and then going to class. The parents and public are being duped and the reason why so many think the PPB school system is good. Did your daughters also tell you about all the cheating that is going on? That is most likely why their SAT scores are such a joke. What is amazing? Is how many kids that get their grades pushed up. It is called "inflated grades" which I am sure is happening in other school systems too. My children would get really upset. They selectively and blatantly only give special treatment to some. Again to students who either went to school with their parents or a teachers child. Even to the parents who cried. You can't fail my "Johnny" or give "Johnny a second shot at a test.. They do not play fair. Some of the decent teachers even get upset. They know it should not be happening. Writing is a subject that a teacher can certainly cheat and does. It is subjective. Between that and letting only some students take a test twice is CHEATING. I feel sorry for all those students who they are cheating for and also the ones that they are cheating out. When students can get high marks in writing from their teacher they should certainly be able to get the same high marks on their SAT. I heard Ms. King took over as Principal. Personally I always respected her. Hopefully she can change it around. More aware by checking on Teachers motives and students writing.

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