One day after Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla introduced a Public Safety Task Force to hinder unruly bar crawls such as SantaCon and LepreCon, multiple bar owners showed up at last night’s council meeting to express their frustrations over the pending changes.
Although the council pulled ordinance that would add new rules and regulations to those who own liquor licenses, bar owners still had an opportunity to air their grievances during the public portion of the meeting.
Aidan Boyle, the owner of McSwiggans Pub, said he wished the city had first approached bar owners before introducing the new safety measures.
“I want to work together with the City Council and the new mayor, but if we’re excluded and you just throw a quick resolution or ordinance together, we feel like outcasts,” said Boyle.
Interestingly, after Boyle finished his remarks, new Council President Ruben Ramos told Boyle that the council was not involved in creating the task force or the crowd control ordinance – both measures were created by the mayor.
Additionally, Ramos stressed there is a need to address the unruly bar crawls that have marred the city’s streets with fights and property damage.
“There were issues at the last SantaCon and we need to see improvements. We want to work collaboratively to find the right solution for all parties involved,” said Ramos.
Texas Arizona Bar owner Mike Ciriello, in addition to expressing frustration over the Public Safety Task Force, said bar owners are already being fined by the zoning office for placing double-sided A-Frame signs on the sidewalk.
“As much as you guys think that we do a lot of bad things in this town, we actually do a lot of good things. For example, when the [NJ Transit] train crashed into [Hoboken Terminal] I opened up my establishment for everybody,” said Ciriello.
Councilman At-Large James Doyle, who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee, said he was open to a meeting with bar owners to hear their complaints, but still seemed eager to move the pulled ordinance forward.
“We would entertain a meeting with bar owners to air their concerns, but I don’t know if we see this as a negotiation. I do have a lot to learn from the bar owners and we would like to work with you, but we also would like to do this expeditiously,” said Doyle.
Specifically, the pulled ordinance addressed security regulations and crowd control, mandating how many people must work the door and how many security persons are required for a bar to remain open.