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Houghtaling & Downey Bill Expanding Issuance of Alcoholic Beverage Licenses Clears Assembly

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to help revitalize shuttered military bases in Monmouth County by providing additional liquor licenses was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.

The bill would authorize the issuance of additional alcoholic beverage licenses to a project area in three municipalities where a federally owned or operated military installation is closed and transferred to a government entity for the purpose of conversion, redevelopment, or revitalization.

The three towns impacted by the bill are Oceanport, Eatontown and Tinton Falls.

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Under the current law, a municipality may issue one plenary retail consumption license, for bars and restaurants, for each 3,000 of its population. This bill provides that an increase in population resulting from residential development in a formerly federally owned or operated military installation would not be included in the calculation issued to new licenses.

“By allowing additional alcoholic beverage licenses to be distributed in our municipalities, we are bringing an ample amount of opportunities to Monmouth County,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling. “It will promote small businesses, encourage tourism, and create jobs for our constituents.”

“To put it simply, this piece of legislation is an opportunity for economic growth both in Monmouth County and in New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “By rebuilding our closed military bases, such as Fort Monmouth, and providing alcoholic beverage licenses to these areas, we will be revitalizing the 11th District.”

The bill (A-3888) provides that each of the three municipalities located within a project area may, by ordinance or resolution, issue a specific number of special licenses.

Following the three year period, a host municipality that has not issued a license may have up to two years to transfer the license, for a fee, to another host municipality for issuance within a premises located within a project area.

A license is to be issued without being designated for a site and remain inactive until the property upon which the license is to be sited is transferred from the government entity to a private entity. In addition, the bill prohibits the licenses from being transferred to a premises located outside of the boundaries of the project area until the authority overseeing, administering, and implementing the plan for the project area has been dissolved. Following the dissolution of the authority, the special licenses may be transferred for use in connection with any premises located within the host municipality.

The bill was approved 64-3-0 and now awaits further consideration by the Senate.

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