SAYREVILLE- Borough officials have dismissed charges against a Route 35 nightclub, whose owner has accepted new conditions in light of problems related to the bar’s closing time.
The Deko Lounge, owned by Stingrays Inc., faced three charges stemming froman incident that occurred on Sept. 21, when an employee working on the premises was allegedly intoxicated, and another employee reportedly attempted to hinder or delay an investigation or inspection of the licensed premises. Officials also charged that the business sold or delivered alcoholic beverages after the legal hours of sale.
MayorKennedyO’Brien toldGreaterMedia Newspapers that the borough’s settlementwith the club came after a cost-benefit analysis was done. Litigation with businesses that hold liquor licenses costs borough taxpayers a significant amount of money, he said.
“Basically, you have to weigh the cost of litigation,” O’Brien said. “There is a reason why you have a local prosecutor and chief of police. These are good and talented people, so the people of Sayreville don’t have to spend additional money on litigation, and everybody’s interests are served.”
Police Chief Edward Szkodny said the charges against the Deko Lounge were not related to an incident that occurred in October, when the owner was reportedly assaulted and police made three arrests related to violence at the scene.
The business was charged with failing to comply with the closing time of 2 a.m. for bars and nightclubs, which is enforced by borough ordinance, Szkodny said.
“Whenwewent into negotiationswithDeko Lounge, we requested a higher penalty, but we reached a settlement,which the prosecutor and the mayor and council accepted, that [Deko Lounge] lose one day a week, and that is a day that they are open regularly,” Szkodny said.
Deko Lounge agreed to close for 15 consecutive Tuesdays, starting last week and concluding onMay 26.
Years ago, the borough allowed bars and nightclubs to stay open until 3 a.m., Szkodny said, but issues arose because of that closing time, largely because bars in surrounding towns were closing at 2 a.m.
“People were leaving surrounding towns and coming into Sayreville for last call during the last hour of consumption,” the chief said. “It was creating problems.”
Officials felt that the situation resulted in an increase in intoxicated drivers on the roads, motor vehicle accidents and other disturbances during that time.
“So the mayor and council, a number of years ago, rolled back the closing time to 2 a.m. to be consistent with surrounding towns and that directly curtailed the problems we were having with the 3 a.m. closing,” Szkodny said.
O’Brien said borough officials expect Deko Lounge and other liquor license holders to operate in compliance with local and state regulations.
“It is my greatest wish that every business owner in Sayreville does well and exceeds their wildest dreams,” O’Brien said. “I expect them to conduct their business [so] that it may bring credit and complements to our community.”