Princeton Township liquor store license approved

Sale could provide tax relief in 2005.

By: Jennifer Potash
   The Princeton Township Committee unanimously approved an ordinance Monday night paving the way for a second liquor store in the township.
   Under the ordinance, which amends the township code to permit the issuance of a license for a second liquor store, the township can sell the license at auction, thus generating revenue and possible tax relief for the 2005 operating budget, according to township officials.
   The date for the auction has not been set.
   Based on recent auctions for liquor licenses in area municipalities, the sale could generate significant revenue for Princeton Township.
   For example, West Windsor Township awarded a consumption liquor license in 2002 to Princeton High Spirits LLC for $595,000. In turn, the firm sold the license to C.A. Muer, owner of the Big Fish restaurant in the MarketFair on Route 1. West Windsor used the proceeds from the sale for capital budget purchases including equipment for the police, public works, engineering and construction departments.
   Princeton Township currently has 10 liquor licenses, said Township Clerk Linda McDermott. Five are restaurant and bar consumption licenses; four are club licenses; and one is a liquor-store distribution license held by Claridge Wine & Liquor at the Princeton Shopping Center.
   Under state law, the number of licenses a municipality is permitted to issue is based on population. A municipality may issue one consumption license for every 3,000 residents, and one distribution license for every 7,500 residents. Princeton Township is eligible for a second liquor-store license as a result of its population increase, said Township Attorney Edwin Schmierer.
   The commercial areas where a liquor store is permitted under township zoning regulations are as follows, according to Zoning Officer Peter Kneski: the shopping center; along Route 206 in the vicinity of Mike’s Tavern and further north toward the Montgomery Township border; and along Alexander Street.
Staff Writer David Campbell contributed to this article.