WILDWOOD - Visitors to the city's Boardwalk should have more drink options this summer, thanks to an ordinance that would allow alcoholic beverage service in as many as three new locations.
Currently, three full-service restaurants have liquor licenses on the Boardwalk or amusement piers. The new ordinance also would allow drinks service at existing amusement piers or waterparks that have a minimum of 30,000 square feet, as well as bar service at restaurants in those zones.
Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said there are local businesses looking to expand and create some new features, and the addition of drink service will play a part in those plans.
"I'm not the biggest proponent of having alcohol all over, but these are reputable operations," he said.
The city first allowed alcoholic beverages on the boards in 2010, and since then three restaurants have included drink service, the maximum allowed at the time.
The new ordinance, introduced this week, would allow as many as three more liquor licenses on the Boardwalk or amusement piers. Troiano noted the city is not creating any additional liquor licenses, but is allowing existing licenses to be transferred to the Boardwalk Amusement or Pier zones.
The city currently has 50 liquor licenses, known as plenary retail consumption licenses, in use at restaurants or bars, along with three liquor store licenses and two club licenses used by the American Legion and VFW posts.
Under the new guidelines, alcoholic beverages can be served at waterparks in designated areas as long as the facility has a water park area management plan "which demonstrates that alcoholic beverages shall be served in a controlled, dignified and upscale manner. This plan shall emphasize the culture of family fun, and shall mandate strict supervision by management to assure zero tolerance of inappropriate behavior resulting from the consumption of alcoholic beverages," the ordinance reads in part.
Troiano said the additional licensed establishments would be closely monitored to ensure no problems arise.
Police Chief Steve Long said the three restaurants that already serve alcohol haven't added to the department's workload.
"It's been negligible, the impact on police resources up there," Long said. "No bar fights, no chairs through windows, no problems."
Neighboring North Wildwood allowed alcoholic drink service on its end of the Boardwalk in 2006.
A public hearing on Wildwood's ordinance is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. May 22.
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