By Melvin Gitler
AFTERMATH OF SMOKING BAN
Recently, in Secaucus the citizens voiced loudly their complaints against bars and restaurants in reference to outside noise levels. The owners of the establishments did not come to the City Hall meeting for good reason, they would have been lynched. The owners of the establishment under fire have been long time residents of Secaucus and have been volunteers to many events. Bars and restaurants throughout history have supported sports teams in town as well as many other functions. The owners of these establishments also usually live in the town. The patrons of the establishments are usually from the town and they are all “law abiding” Secaucus residents and the establishments do not serve underage patrons. They complained that their decibel level was just 7 points over the acceptable decibel compliance number. Both sides acknowledge that the new smoking law in New Jersey has some impact. Patrons now have to go outside the bar to smoke and then problems sometimes follow. The owners feel they are operating within their rights and are not responsible for the patrons once they leave the bar. However, since many Secaucus bars and restaurants are located in a “quiet residential neighborhood” should bring forth a certain higher level and feeling of responsibility on their part.
Now neighbors are complaining who live nearby these establishments that their kids cannot study at night. Neighbors complain that the patrons come out, linger and become obnoxious. The litter and vomit outside these establishments is becoming a problem The residents all agree that they do not wish to do harm to anyone in making a living but should the owners do harm to the residents. Other neighbors talk about patron’s defecating on the lawn, doing damage to vehicles and just getting rowdy in public. Standing outside the establishments the citizens often report loud noise, profanity and fights to the police.
Police have reported that complaints from around September 2006 till now have risen from 5 to 52 complaints. The establishments keep changing their venue to bring more and more patrons into their establishments. Many owners say they must modify their business to help recoup their investments.
Some neighbors are concerned about the effect on their property values. Not all neighbors appear to notice the noise. Owners of the establishments state there is noise and there is Noise. However, it doesn’t seem that the present situation is unable to be repaired. Neighbors state that they do not want the business to close. They are just fully frustrated with the ongoing problem. They want to sleep at night and not have their property vandalized. The neighbors want the owners to take care of the behavioral problems of their patrons. The neighbors tell the owners, “why not consider your neighbors as your ultimate customers?
The smoking ban may be good for some and bad for others. The results are starting to come out in towns throughout New Jersey. This is an example of just one of these towns. The State should look into the upcoming problems that become created when laws are made without total consideration of the consequences. Now we must ask our politicians to correct their error.
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