By Kayla J. Marsh
LITTLE SILVER – As the borough heads into a new year, Mayor Robert C. Neff Jr. reflected on the past year and provided some insight into plans that are in store for the borough in 2016.
During the Borough Council’s Jan. 4 reorganization meeting, some items Neff reflected on in his traditional poem form, included the passing of the recent liquor license referendum, police and volunteer service members happenings and improvements that are planned for various areas of the borough.
“Change does not come easy, to the little burg we love, but two-zero-fifteen brought its share, and the sky is still above,” Neff said.
One of the biggest things to occur in the borough in 2015 is the passing of a referendum during the Nov. 3 general election regarding the on-premise consumption of alcohol within the municipality by a vote of 801 to 736.
“It was 1981 in town, and voters here proclaimed, a liquor license we don’t need, our bring-your-owns remained,” Neff said. “We changed our minds last year, by vote, a license is to be, a family style watering hole or gourmet faire we’ll see.”
In his December message in the borough’s newsletter, Neff said the referendum dealt only with a retail consumption license, which generally involves a bar/restaurant-style establishment.
Due to its population of a little less than 6,000 residents, the borough can only issue one license.
“Presently, the only active liquor license is that held by the Little Silver Bottle Shop … a different kind of license that does not permit on-site consumption, but allows the retail sale of all kinds of alcoholic beverages,” he said. “Yet a third kind of license – that held by the former A&P to sell warm beer and wine – has not been transferred to the new Acme.”
He said residents will still be able to ‘bring your own’ to borough restaurants regardless of the issuance of a retail consumption license.
“In short, this new license will be the first of its kind in the borough, making this a learning process for everyone,” he said.
“It now falls to the Borough Council to redraft the borough’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Ordinance to allow for the license, which will include such considerations as where to allow such an establishment, how large it might be, the ratio of bar stools to dining tables, the hours of operation, whether to allow music, and if so when, and other items.
“The council might also have to redraft the zoning ordinance to reflect the existence of the license … and will also work on the wording of the license, which will ultimately be auctioned off in a sealed bid procedure.”
Once ordinances are amended and the license is sold, the purchaser will go through the process to have an establishment approved at whatever location may be proposed, with the appropriate permits, he said.
Neff also said the police department’s first National Night Out event in August was also a huge success.
“To our volunteer services, our public works department, our police, and to our professionals who are here, thank you for your service throughout the year,” he said.
“The active, vigorous nature of our all-volunteer emergency services is especially impressive at a time when so many other towns are struggling to keep their all-volunteer squads in place, without resorting to paid assistance.
Some things Neff said residents could look forward to in 2016 include the paving of Prospect Avenue and Church Street sidewalks; drainage, dugouts and safety fencing improvements to Markham Fields and Challenger and Sickles Parks thanks to a $121,000 Monmouth County Open Space grant and the repair of Parker Creek Bridge.
“In addition, we’re installing a new communications tower at borough hall that will eliminate the ‘dead spots’ that our emergency personnel sometimes encounter in responding to calls,” he said. “We will also finish refurbishing the barns at Parker Homestead