Would Belmar consider a midnight closing time for bars?
Mayor Matt Doherty and Council President Claire Deicke do not support the idea, posed by a resident who lives near D'Jais.
The last serving time is currently 2 a.m., but a neighbor to D'Jais asked if the council would ever consider bumping it to midnight to help improve the quality of life for those who live near a bar or tavern in Belmar.
Mayor Matt Doherty simply said no, he would not welcome the suggestion.
"I would never support a 12 o'clock closing," he said at the last council meeting.
Councilman James Bean mentioned that attempts to change closing times elsewhere were met with legal woes for the municipalities.
"Didn’t Point (Pleasant Beach) have this battle? The state stepped in," Bean said.
On Tuesday night, the Point Pleasant Beach Council voted unanimously to drop the midnight bar closing proposal and will vote in January to rescind the ordinance for the earlier closing. In exchange, Jenkinson's has pledged to drop its lawsuit against the earlier bar closing measure as well as a lawsuit against an overnight parking plan and has also promised to pay over $1 million over the next 20 years towards any boardwalk repair costs not reimbursed through state or FEMA aid.
The mayor said the measure to change closing times in Belmar likely wouldn't have much support.
Diecke said she takes the resident's complaint seriously that bars are creating quality-of-life issues for neighbors, and went about the task of investigating.
She decided to experience the conditions for herself, staying up through closing time with local police to witness what a busy summer night is like, and she said she was impressed by the order and decorum of patrons, police and bar staff.
"There's actually something called a 'shush patrol' hired by the bars, keeping a lid on everything," Diecke said.
She went out on Memorial Day this year to see the neighborhood conditions leading up to closing time.
"I had not ever done that before, but I had seen no major issues. Almost nothing," Diecke said, adding she was impressed by a large police presence, just in case.
"I can’t tell you how many police were milling. I was thrilled to see them. Pleased with their presence and how they were conducting ourselves," she said.