Says Exemption Would Benefit Casino Industry 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 unanimously approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today.
“Since their implementation a few years ago, beach bars have become a lucrative part of the Atlantic City casino business, with little disruption to the residential neighborhoods in Atlantic City,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “As our casino industry expands – most recently with the addition of Revel – new casino operators want the same ability to operate a beach bar as the casinos which were already in business prior to 2011. This bill corrects an oversight in the initial law, and allows new casinos to set up their own beach bars as a means to attract new visitors to Atlantic City.”
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 is a matter of giving our casinos the economic freedom to establish beach bars to attract new customers, without having to conform to noise control laws which frankly aren’t necessary for the area in which these beach bars are located,” said Senator Whelan. “These bars aren’t situated in residential areas, but rather an entertainment district which is designed to promote economic activity. By clearing the way for new casinos to establish beach bars, we’re putting them on an even playing field with existing casinos when it comes to this new kind of gaming and entertainment attraction.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.