Aug 01, 2014
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Martell's Faces Potential Liquor License Fight In Point Pleasant Beach Hearing

Martell's Faces Potential Liquor License Fight In Point Pleasant Beach Hearing
A public hearing will be held next week on Martell's, a long-time Boardwalk landmark, as it faces possible difficulty seeking to renew its liquor license.

The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers of the Borough Hall, 416 New Jersey Ave., Point Pleasant Beach. 

The August 2013 fatality of a woman who left Martell's, while apparently intoxicated, is causing Mayor Vincent Barrella and Council members to consider denying the renewal of its liquor license. 

Barrella had previously urged council members not to support a resolution that made a few revisions to confirm the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control's ruling about Martell's liquor license.  The council voted recently 5-1 to approve the resolution, which had modified elements from a resolution approved two weeks ago.

"We do not often get a chance for Council to correct itself," Barrella said, urging Council members not to approve the resolution because of the woman's death. Councilman Bret Gordon agreed, casting the lone vote against the resolution.

Gordon said rejecting the resolution could send a "powerful signal" to bar owners that the town is serious about their role in policing alcohol.

Township Attorney Kevin Riordan, however, warned the council that failing to codify the ABC's action supporting Martell's liquor license could expose the borough to a lawsuit that it could lose.  Riordan said the best time for the council to take action is when Martell's has to renew its license, which officials indicated to be in June.

"I'm not afraid of lawsuits when we're right, but I'm going to heed the advice of council," said Councilman Thomas Toohey.

Council members said they should have more information in June related to the fatality and another woman's severe injury from a head-on collision, which is the subject of a  lawsuit that was filed against Martell's.  The case has not yet been heard before a judge.

Barrella said the ABC has not shared any records related to the incident, despite the borough attorney's requests in October.   

ABC's Website highlights several occurrences where bars had their liquor licenses revoked or bar owners were forced to sell their liquor licenses in 2013.

Point Pleasant Beach officials have had a contentious relationship with bar owners in recent years over  the local government's attempts to have them close earlier than 2 a.m., the current limit, and over parking for patrons.  

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