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Whelan Bill To Exempt Beach Bars From Noise Control Laws Advances From Senate

Says Exemption Would Benefit Casino Industry in Atlantic City during Summer Tourism Season

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan which would create a blanket exemption for beach bars within the Atlantic City Tourism (ACT) district from the restrictions of the “Noise Control Act of 1971” and other local noise control ordinances was approved by the Senate yesterday by a vote of 39-0.

“Since casinos started constructing beach bars a few years ago, they’ve become a mainstay of the Atlantic City entertainment industry, and have created little disruption to the surrounding neighborhood” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “With the expansion of our casino industry – most recently with the opening of Revel – new casino operators want to have the same ability to operate beach bars as those that were in business in 2011. This bill corrects an oversight in the initial law which would have prohibited new casinos from setting up and running beach bars as a means to attract visitors to their facilities.”

The bill, S-1754, would eliminate the requirement under the current law that a beach bar must have been in existence and operating as of August 31, 2011 in order to qualify for an exemption from the restrictions of the “Noise Control Act of 1971.” Under the 2011 statute, a beach bar, amusement park or carnival ride that was operational as of August 31, 2011 would be exempt from the State noise control law during “normal business hours” as defined by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). S-1754 would amend the 2011 statute to exempt all beach bars in the ACT district from any noise control standards, including local ordinances, and would remove the limitation in the law concerning “normal business hours” to get DEP out of the area of enforcing hours of operation.

“This bill would give our casinos the economic freedom to establish beach bars as a way to bring in new customers, without conforming to noise control laws which simply do no apply to the areas where the beach bars are located,” said Senator Whelan. “These bars are situated in an entertainment district designed to promote economic activity. By clearing the way for new casinos to establish and run beach bars, we’re putting all casino operators on a level playing field when it comes to this lucrative gaming and entertainment attraction.”

The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

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