Exemption Would Benefit Casino Industry in Atlantic City During Summer Tourism Season
A bill sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) will create a blanket exemption for beach bars within the Atlantic City Tourism District, overriding the restrictions of the Noise Control Act of 1971 and subsequent noise-control ordinances. The bill will become law immediately, having been unanimously approved by the N.J. Senate in June (39-0) and by the State Assembly in January by a 73-1 vote.
“Since casinos began operating beach bars on the shoreline of Atlantic City, they have become a staple that attracts tourists and provides entertainment — all without disruption to the surrounding neighborhoods,” says Whelan, D-Atlantic, in a media release. “With the enactment of this law, we have leveled the playing field for all casinos to construct beach bars no matter when they are built.
“This law gives casinos the freedom to establish these beach-front bars that will attract new customers and strengthen the tourism and gaming industry in Atlantic City without having to conform to noise control laws, which frankly aren’t necessary for the area in which these beach bars are located,” adds Whelan, a former three-term mayor of Atlantic City.
The law eliminates the requirement that a beach bar must have been in existence and operating as of Aug. 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).
The new law amends the 2011 statute to exempt ALL beach bars in the Tourism District from any noise control standards, including local ordinances, and removes the limitation in the law concerning “normal business hours” to get DEP out of the area of enforcing hours of operation.