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ABC to New Providence: Have a Drink!

Support for liquor-license ordinance clears way for Council to introduce amended plan at May 14 meeting.

Borough Council is inching closer to ending the dry spell in New Providence.

In early February, Borough Attorney Carl Woodward sent the proposed amendments to the existing liquor license ordinance to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control for review and approval. On Monday night, Woodward told Council that he received a letter back, stating that "we have our ordinance approved by the ABC."

"[I spoke] with the Deputy Attorney General last week, who had very minor changes that I took care of," Woodward said. "We should put it on the agenda for the next meeting for introduction and we can adopt it by the end of May."

Last November, a referendum that asked residents if the borough should allow for the sale of consumption liquor licenses .

Earlier this year, , who each made suggestions with the type of desired establishments in mind. Then, the proposed amendments were sent to the state ABC.

, Borough Administrator Doug Marvin told Patch that council members want to expedite the liquor license ordinance but have to follow the letter of the law.

“I know they’re not sitting on their hands, so to speak. My impression is they will try to move this along as quickly as possible,” Marvin said in February. “So optimistically, we could have something open in 2012 but I think probably, realistically, it would probably be the early part of next year.”

With the ABC's approval, the next step is for council to formally introduce the ordinance, which may take place at the next meeting on Monday, May 14.

Once the ordinance is introduced, the public hearing would be scheduled — likely for Tuesday, May 29 — and publicly advertised.

But more public hearings could follow the initial hearing.

"The council has to start considering the process [after the ordinance is introduced] and what the minimum bid would be," Marvin explained in February.

From there, it gets down to the price of the license and the conditions for anyone who will buy it. 

Marvin told Patch that he would expect this bid process would be similar to any other bid process in the borough, where council would set a date and time that bids would have to be submitted by and then the auction would be opened to the public.

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