BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater’s goal to appoint a town historian and accompanying local history advisory committee will have to wait until at least Monday night’s meeting of the Bridgewater Township council.
The council held a public hearing Sept. 10, where it re-introduced the ordinance that was brought before the municipal governing body for the first time last month. That measure was to create an office of town historian, something that has been lacking locally, along with a historical advisory committee to officially preserve Bridgewater’s long and varied history of more than 270 years.
Council vice president Filipe Pedroso said he thought it had been necessary to improve the wording and functionality of the ordinance, to “get it right.” Council president Howard Norgalis agreed that there were minor revisions to the ordinance, and called it a case of “word-smithing.”
Mayor Matthew Moench thanked Pedroso for the revisions and the ordinance, calling it “long overdue.” Councilman Michael Kirsh remarked that the ordinance was about the preservation of historical documents and artifacts, and not land or equipment, and Norgalis added that the intention is for “hand portable” items.
Pedroso thanked his fellow council members, and reiterated what he had said the previous meeting, that the town historian and committee ordinance is not intended to create new expenses for the township, but is meant to use volunteers, instead.
Councilman Allen Kurdyla said that his concerns remained the same from the previous meeting, such as where items obtained by the historian and committee would be stored, and was the only one of the five council members to vote against the ordinance’s reintroduction. \
The next public hearing will be held Sept. 21.
The council also unanimously approved consent resolutions for various 2020–2021 liquor license renewals. They included several liquor stores in Bridgewater, including Spirits of the Valley, Krisha Beverage/Bridgewater Wine and Spirits, Wegmans Food Markets and Ramaram, Inc/Buy Best Wine and Liquors.
The renewals included hotels like the Hyatt Summerfield Suites Hotel, the Hilton Gardens Inn, Hampton Inn and Suites and the Bridgewater Marriott. Also regaining plenary retail consumption liquor licenses among restaurants were Cafe Emilia and Ruby Tuesday, the latter a renewal of an inactive license, plus the Green Knoll Grille.
Another resolution, for the renewal of club liquor licenses for the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Somerville Lodge of Elks, the Raritan Valley Country Club and the Gerald Abego Post of the American Legion was approved with three affirmative votes and two abstentions.
Councilman Timothy Ring said he had been an Elks member, and asked if it was a conflict of interest, Township attorney Chris Corsini said it wasn’t necessarily a conflict, but added that Ring could recuse himself, while Norgalis said Ring could participate if he chose to do so.
A COVID-19 expansion permit was also unanimously approved for the California Pizza Kitchen at the Bridgewater Commons mall, pursuant to a special ruling of the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Pedroso asked if the Bridgewater Police Department was okay with the various liquor license renewals. Norgalis said the police had reviewed the list, and Pedroso then asked if any issues had been raised.
Township clerk Linda Doyle said no, but added that there had been some COVID-19 complaints regarding the Green Knoll Grille. Norgalis said that correspondence would be sent from the township to that establishment, asking it to “be more careful.”