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New Providence Council Makes Changes to Liquor Ordinance

Mike Neavill

Thursday, August 28, 2014 • 10:54am

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Borough Council members discussed several possible changes to an existing and largely unpopular ordinance governing plenary retail liquor consumption licenses.

Council members took about 30 minutes earlier this week comparing a “red-lined” or updated version changes to the original ordinance.

Most of the effort was focused on simplifying and streamlining the ordinance.

“Most of what we’ve taken out is covered in other ordinances,” Council President Michael Gennaro said referring to language in the ordinance regarding construction codes.

Mayor J. Brooke Hern said the council’s efforts were headed in the right direction. “We all want to make it better,” Hern said.

Rather than introduce an amended ordinance at its next meeting, the council will once again engage in further discussion on Sept. 8, at which time Borough Construction Official Keith Lynch will be available to respond to questions concerning construction codes.

The council’s attempt to revise the ordinance is due, in large part, for over two years of failed attempts to market the consumption liquor license.

The other side of the equation which is not part of the ordinance is the asking price of minimum bid of $400,000.

During the discussion, Councilman Dr. Bob Robinson said the minimum bid should be reduced to $300,000. That proposal fell on deaf ears, suggesting future debate or discussion on the revision of an existing resolution.

Turning to other council actions, Councilman Jim Madden introduced a resolution approving purchase orders of $58,000 for playground equipment as part of an expansive renovation to Lincoln Field.

Madden said $25,000 of the expense will be paid by a grant from the Union County Kids Recreation Trust Fund.

As a sign of a burst in borough construction activity, the council approved the appointment of two part-time building and fire inspectors primarily dedicated to the Lantern Hill Continuing Care Center under construction at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and South Street. Borough expenses will be recovered by fees collected from Lantern Hill.

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