Bad Karma: Seaside Cracks Down On Nightclub

Karma, based on Grand Central Avenue in Seaside Heights is the focus of new ordinances and criminal charges stemming from alleged incidents of underage drinking during Memorial Day weekend. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

SEASIDE HEIGHTS – Business Administrator Christopher J. Vaz plans to propose a set of proposals to end, “once and for all, the craziness that occurs this time of year with prom and graduation parties in Seaside Heights motel/hotels and apartments.”

Vaz stated on social media on May 23 that the Borough Attorney Jean Cipriani was directed to seek an immediate injunction in Ocean County Superior Court toward the operator of Karma to stop its operation on grounds that the nightclub was in violation of the existing site plan approvals for a restaurant.

According to the land use board’s 2008 approval the licensee must operate a full restaurant service to be run by an independent restauranteur on the first level.

A 2002 site plan approval included a representation by the prior licensee that the proposed construction would contain a restaurant facility together with a pub which would have a sports bar theme. Live entertainment, specifically jazz, would be played on occasion at the site.

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The owners of Savor, the restaurant that previously operated out of the facility, announced in April that it would not be returning. The current ownership recently announced its opening on Memorial Day weekend as a nightclub on social media.

Its grand opening was promised to include a May 27 “hyperglow party” which on social media describes itself as an ongoing large party of high energy dance music in an ultra violet atmosphere.

Several criminal incidents that occurred during Memorial Weekend at Karma led to further scrutiny of the business’s operation.

Borough Police Chief Thomas Boyd said May 28 that “due to the incidents of overdoses and underage drinking I can’t comment on this ongoing investigation.”

Listen to actual audio over the police scanners courtesy of Ocean County Scanner News Facebook Page!

Photo by Bob Vosseller

Vaz said that Cipriani will be directed to prepare and serve a separate administrative complaint seeking revocation of the operator’s Alcohol Beverage Commission license.

He also stated that a multi-layered proposal will soon be presented to the governing body that would include the introduction of an ordinance resembling those in other municipalities that state, “no room shall be rented to any person who shall be under 21 years of age at the time of the rental when not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or providing proof of emancipation. Said age is set to deter security issues associated with underage drinking, violence, and vandalism.”

“Enough is enough,” Mayor Anthony Vaz said on May 28. “The Vaz administration will be working on this very forcefully and rapidly.”

Mayor Vaz noted that Christopher, who is his son, also plans to introduce a resolution that directs code enforcement and requests state inspectors to strictly enforce occupancy limits and fire code requirements.

Photo courtesy Ocean County Scanner News Facebook Page

The administrator also wants to see an ordinance approved that bans the sale of wristbands to persons who are not registered guests of the rental units.

Vaz also posted to social media that “the problems in Seaside Heights will not fix themselves. History has proven year after year that babysitting the minors and trying to control the chaos is not the solution.”

“We owe a greater effort to finding a solution to the Seaside Heights property owners – both residential and business owners – who have invested tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the community after Superstorm Sandy,” Vaz added.