The hearing to renew liquor licenses for local businesses, including the Park Sports Bar on the corner of South Park and Church Street, has been moved from tonight to June 19. The bar faces objections to license renewal by neighbors who, disturbed by excessive noise at 2 a.m., filed a complaint against the bar on May 11. In addition, 12 charges have been filed against the bar by Montclair’s municipal prosecutor, Kenneth Strait Jr, according to Ira Karasick, Township Attorney.
Siena resident Nancy LeRoy led the efforts to file a complaint against the bar, as she has made numerous attempts to report the “drunken screaming and staggering around the neighborhood,” coming from the bar since she moved in during the summer of 2010.
Prior to that, neighbors had made multiple attempts to stop the noise – calling police, speaking out at council meetings, as well as writing to and meeting with city officials. Last month, LeRoy called the State Attorney General’s office.
On May 30, Prosecutor Kenneth Strait Jr. brought up 12 charges against the bar, including buying alcohol from a prohibited source and illegal drug use on the premises. The drug use allegation, as reported by The Montclair Times, occurred in 2009 when police on an ABC (Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control) inspection found owner Jeffry Melnikoff smoking pot inside the bar.
Other charges include incidents initially reported over two years ago, including five reported bar fights, several with underage patrons. With each charge, the bar could face a 30-day liquor license suspension.
One June 19, the bar’s liquor license will be up for renewal, along with every other license in town, said Karasick. There will be a hearing at the meeting where local residents can voice their objections.
The council acts as the court, said Karasick. They can either renew the license, suspend it, or renew it with restrictions.
“We are hoping restrictions will be placed on the renewal of the liquor license,” said LeRoy.
The lame duck council’s term ends on June 30, which means the disciplinary hearing to address charges filed by state against the bar will be heard later in the summer by the new council, according to Karasick.
The date of the second hearing has not been decided yet.