KENILWORTH, NJ - Residents in the neighborhood next to the Gavelstone Bar and Grill are furious with the problems the bar has created. There have been numerous complaints of noise, litter on the street and lawns, parking issues, blocked driveways, public sexual acts, and public urination. All of this is based on the Police / CAD reports and concerns of the local residents.
Tuesday July 30, there will be a preliminary hearing between the Gavelstone Bar and Grill and the Governing Body of the Borough of Kenilworth. The hearing will take place at the Trenton Municipal Court solely to hear the argument by Frank Capece, the Borough Attorney as to whether or not the stay for the Gavelstone should remain in effect pending the appeal. The Borough of Kenilworth has petitioned to have the stay lifted. If the stay remains in effect the suspension and other issues will be decided at the State Office of Administrate law. The enforcing attempt by the Borough of Kenilworth will be heard at the state Alcohol Beverage Commission under the offices of the Attorney General. The hearing tomorrow will be conducted by the director of the State ABC. From Kenilworth, the Borough Clerk, Council President, and attorney for the Borough will be present. Residents have been requested not to come to the hearing because they will not be able to give a testimony at this juncture.
Council President Karlovitch reported “We all take very seriously the right of every resident of Kenilworth to have peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their homes. “
“There have been unfortunate and untruthful allegations against our enforcement. The simple truth is we will protect every residents right to a good quality of life in Kenilworth. “
Frank Capece in his letter on July 26 to the Jillian Mahoney the Deputy Attorney General states:
1. The Borough does not have any intention to suffocate and eventually attempt to put Gavelstone Bar & Grill out of Business.” Based on the prior Municipal action well over a year ago where conditions but no suspension of business, were implemented and the more recent imposed license conditions and a 35 day suspension, the goal has been simply to have the bar conform to the requirement of the municipal code and the licensing responsibility of any tavern.
2. The meeting July 30, 2019 based on your representation is not to illicit testimony but rather to hear attorney arguments as to the continuation of the Director’s stay. Candidly a stay on the suspension until a hearing is held is not of overriding concern. What is the major concern is to end the DJ and live music which is so disruptive to the neighbor’s quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their property.
You have viewed the testimony and cross examination of the bevy of resident witnesses. Simply the irreparable harm is the damage to the resident’s peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their homes.
We have detailed the noise disruption, abusive conduct of patrons and littering. Candidly our first question to the Director and yourself is if either would accept this conduct in your neighborhood. The delay in hearing this matter is also of concern.
3. The license of the bar is a privilege not a right. Our brief in opposition to the stay goes into some length on this aspect. There is no license right for DJ and music.
The supplemental CAD reports and the information of enforcement toward another tavern (eq. Blackthorn) shows the simple goal of the Borough to enforce the liquor license requirement of every tavern. The anticipated argument that after the enforcement action began the disruption has been lessened misses the point. Namely, any individual who violates the conditions of enforcement, does not have the right to say “well things have gotten better.”
4. The second argument of “special attention” to the bar is also without merit. Many evenings there are only two officers on patrol. Do either the Director or yourself truly believe the Borough can apply resources to selective enforcement.
Simply the abuse to the neighborhood is the type of irreparable harm which should permit the lifting of the current stay.
Kenilworth Borough Attorney Frank Capece says the biggest concern is “the live music has turned this place into a night club."
What will be determined at the hearing is if the disruption of the quiet enjoyment of the resident’s results in irreparable harm is created by the Gavelstone. The borough will argue that selective enforcement did not take place. To refute the stay, said Capece, he must show that the Gavelstone puts the township in danger. If the stay is implemented on Tuesday, the Gavelstone will have a 35-day suspension and no more live music and the prior conditions from last year will continue.
Borough officials say they just want the residents in the neighborhood to have a decent lifestyle.