New Jersey Might Hit Our Restaurants With Additional Fees For Ridiculous Reason
There have been a lot of new bills proposed for New Jersey, but the most recent has got to be one of the most insulting yet.
According to an article on NJ.com, a North Jersey town could make life a lot more difficult for restaurants with, "extra seating areas outside their businesses, called 'parklets.'”
If you are not sure what I am talking about, think of the Red Bank Broadwalk Plaza for reference.
Another good example is the outdoor seating area set up outside Capone's Gourmet Pizza on Washing Street in Toms River.
If given the green light, Jersey City restaurants with sidewalk seating will be required to purchase additional permits and pay for more fees for these outdoor areas to remain in business.
We are talking about a hefty chunk of change.
The new parklet permit would cost a whopping $3,650 with an additional $2,000 in the other fees on top of it which would cover the costs of, "traffic administration, engineering inspection, zoning, and signage."
FYI: Thank you to Susie M. who reached out letting us know that this proposal was denied as of Wednesday. February 16th. (I misread and thought final decision was being made this upcoming Wednesday...OOPS!)
Even though it was denied, it was still seriously considered...so let's talk about why this atrocity should have never been suggested in the first place.
In the words of Papa Murray, "Since when did money start growing on trees?"
I just want to make sure I am understanding correctly.
A catastrophic number of restaurants, bars, and other businesses were forced to close due to the economic aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Then the remaining businesses had to find a way to not only remain afloat with a limited indoor capacity but still make back the extra revenue they lost during the 2020 quarantine.
Also fine because those limitations were put in place to protect everyone.
Then restaurants found a way to remain in business without putting other people's health at risk. Outdoor dining, sidewalk dining, and outdoor heated dining became the new trend in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
And now after all of this, you want to try and charge restaurants an extra $5500 out of nowhere?
Outdoor and sidewalk dining was not a "new, creative business idea." It was invented out of necessity.
It has been a nonstop struggle for New Jersey restaurants these last two years and these new fees could not be more tone-deaf if you tried.
How are they struggling? Let's catch you up on what has been going on behind the scenes:
Why New Jersey Restaurants Are Still Struggling In 2022
A lot of things are stacked against restaurants these days, aren't they?
The silver lining is that according to the NJ.com article, Jersey City is the only New Jersey city that is considering this new rule as of now.
But whenever a new rule passes somewhere in the Garden State, it tends to spread like wildfire.
To Jersey Shore leadership: don't even think about it.
There are so many businesses that not only have great food but have sentimental value.
For example, the Crabs Claw Inn in Lavallette is a restaurant that has been a part of my family for years.
Before I was born, my mom and dad used to rent a small bungalow every summer on the island. (And yes, I could point out which one because my sisters and I were shown this house annually)
During every visit, where did they go? That's right...the Crabs Claw Inn.
Before I could even say the word "bisque," I was being spoon-fed their Lobster Bisque as a baby. It is still, to this day, is our go-to spot.
Imagine if, after all these years, it were forced to close thanks to insane rules like this one.
And if I may....the Crabs Claw Inn is aware they are struggling and want their customers to know it too. This is what is posted in their bathrooms:
For some businesses, $5,000 may not be a make or break.
But have you been out and about these days?
Some businesses are just getting by and fees like this would either force them to permanently close or to lose the revenue from sidewalk dining which could also result in the closing.
To you, it is just $5,000.
But to the rest of the Jersey Shore, it could be the make or break that closes businesses we have been going to for years.
Don't be that guy. I beg of you.
Nicole S. Murray
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. Email me at Nicole.Murray@townsquaremedia.com but just know if you insult me or my "level of journalism," I will not be responding.
As if we needed another reason to consider moving out of the Garden State: