BRICK – The Township would be accepting bids on its last plenary distribution retail liquor license from qualified bidders as set forth by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act and regulations.
The number of liquor licenses a municipality can issue in New Jersey are restricted based on population, and with a census being conducted next year, Mayor John G. Ducey said he wants to sell the license in case the population has decreased, resulting in the township losing it, he said during the July 23 council meeting.
The minimum bid for the license is $575,000, and the governing body voted for restrictions to be placed on its sale, including where it would be located.
“We’ve had concerns in the past, when I was on council, that the south end of town has a lot of liquor stores, and some owners came out asking us not to sell one back then,” he said. “We did, and it actually ended up in the south portion, based upon the bidding.”
So the premises for the new liquor store must be located in the northern part of the township in areas north of the Metedeconk River as it runs through Forge Pond. Also, it must be located within a B-3 zoning district and at least half a mile away from any other property with an active plenary retail distribution license, Ducey said.
In addition, the store has to be located in a vacant, existing building, (not a new or proposed building) that is located within a shopping center.
“We still have some empty storefronts left, and we want to have the opportunity for redevelopment of those spots rather than somebody be able to buy the liquor license and knock down trees,” he said. “So with those restrictions and with the minimum bid, hopefully we can get a sale of this last plenary retail distribution license.”
In other news, the mayor gave an update on the of the future sports dome site to be built at the site of the former Foodtown property. He said the plan has gotten the green light from the State Department of Transportation and from the township Planning Board, but the developers are still waiting for a response from the Ocean County Soil and from NJ Wetlands.
The township council passed a resolution that authorizes the township to execute a deed for a letter of interpretation for the project, which confirms that properties determined to be wetlands and wetland buffer areas would not be on the buildable part of the former Foodtown site, Ducey explained. The applicants still need to have a hearing in front of the Ocean County Planning Board and they need to go before the Municipal Utilities Authority.
“And when all that is done, it will go before CAFRA so we could finally get this thing built,” Ducey said. “I know I called it red tape, and it seems like red tape because there are all these hoops you have to go through in order to get a sports dome in town, so that’s what we’re doing, going through each one individually…It’s part of the process to close on the property.”
And finally, Councilwoman Heather deJong read a message from Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero that explains her recent absences from council meetings.
“Unfortunately due to the effects of the radiation I went through for my cancer treatments, I had to undergo another surgery to replace my jaw. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts, prayers and positivity, and I am recovering,” she said. “I hope to see everyone soon.”
DeJong called Pontoriero a “Wonder Woman,” for what she has endured these last few years.
“She and her family are all warriors in her battle against cancer, and we just ask for everybody’s positive thoughts and prayers,” she said.
The next council meeting will be on Tuesday August 13 at 7 p.m.