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Point Pleasant Beach Bars Reject Compromise Offer

Point Pleasant Beach
Photo Courtesy Flickt User Wootang 01

One o’clock isn’t good enough for the boardwalk bars in Point Pleasant Beach. The bars rejected a compromise plan Wednesday night to allow them to stay open until 1 am instead of midnight-as recently mandated by the Borough.

The two biggest bars, Jenkinson’s Boardwalk and Martell’s Tiki Bar, issued a joint statement rejecting the plan issued Tuesday night by Mayor Vincent Barrella and the Council.

With no agreement reached, the bar owner’s appeal of the midnight curfew will be brought before the director of the state’s Divisions of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Michael Halfacre, who must decide by Friday. The midnight curfew for alcohol sales goes into effect officially Sunday night.

The mayor notes now Director Halfacre has until Friday to make a decision.

“As I understand it, he’s got three options. He could dismiss the appeal, which I believe is the right answer. Second option is he could schedule it for a hearing, in which case the ordinance would take effect July 1st. And the third option is he could grant a stay and schedule a hearing, in which case the ordinance wouldn’t take effect.”

The issue centers on disruptive bar patrons, vandalizing property after a night of drinking.

Originally Barrella and the Council wanted the bar owners to pay money to fund additional police to cover the late night patrols, and in exchange the businesses could remain open until 2 am. No deal was reached, and in the joint statement the bars said “The payment of Dollars has been inextricably linked to the ours of operation. At each and every meeting with members of the governing body over the past five months, the demand has always been money for extended hours.”

The bars stated they have “diligently tried to resolve the issues” however “numerous meetings over the past five months have proven futile. Talks have broken down.”

Opponents of the midnight curfew argue the loss of two hours will negatively affect the town economically; however Barrella Point Pleasant beach is first and foremost a family attraction.

“As long as the sun is shining and somebody doesn’t figure out how to move the ocean, Point Pleasant Beach is going to be fine.”

Some have argued moving last call up two hours earlier will just move any drunken belligerent behavior up as well, but Barrella says “if the problem is two hours earlier, then the infractions will occur two hours earlier, and tickets and arrests will occur two hours earlier.”

Adding, “the idea here is to enhance quality of life and to bring Point Pleasant Beach back to that point where it’s viewed as a family tourist destination.”

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