EATONTOWN: Borough Mayor Gerald Tarantolo is pushing for the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) to add five liquor licenses to each of three Fort Monmouth host communities; Eatontown, Tinton Falls and Oceanport.
"I've submitted a letter to the state agency requesting that they consider issuing five liquor licenses for the projects that are being proposed for town centers on Fort Monmouth," Tarantolo said during the May 14 Eatontown Council meeting.
The letter was sent to Michael Halfacre, Director of the ABC and Tarantolo said his response was positive. He said he will be meeting with Halfacre, Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon and Tinton Falls Mayor Gerald Turning and Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) Executive Director Bruce Steadman in the next few weeks.
Tarantolo said adding liquor licenses to the area will make the town centers, which will contain a mixture of housing and retail, including restaurants, more attractive to developers.
"Developers are looking for liquor licenses as a way of stimulating success in the town centers," Tarantolo said.
Councilman Dennis Connelly he felt borough businesses that already serve alcohol could lose "equity" if Fort Monmouth restaurants are given liquor licenses.
"Liquor licenses are very expensive for the people that purchased them already in town, I agree that there should be some new liquor licenses on Fort Monmouth, because the property had federal liquor licenses and was not in competition with the borough businesses," Connelly said. "Before they had a limited market on Fort Monmouth, now they're open to the public and they're competing with the restaurants that just developed recently."
Connelly said newer restaurants such as Firebirds and Joe's Crab Shack, both located at the Monmouth Mall, may not have paid what they had for liquor licenses if they knew more were going to be generated at Fort Monmouth.
"I'm saying (Suneagles) Golf Course should definitely have one, because I don't know how it would survive without one, and maybe a couple in the town center, but five seems a little excessive and that's really going to weaken the market for the rest of them," Connelly continued. "I'm just concerned about what we would do to the rest of the market."