Residents: No More Bars on DeHart Street
Proposed bowling alley and restaurant, with a liquor license, roundly jeered at council meeting.
The attorney for those proposing a possible bowling alley on DeHart Street were only going before Town Council Tuesday to discuss whether they could hear a liquor license transfer request before going to the Planning Board. But, a number of residents came out to voice their opinion on the entire project.
That opinion? No way.
Following lengthy discussion and public comment, Town Council decided they would allow the liquor license transfer process to be discussed prior to the application's presentation to the Planning Board. A date was not yet set for when that hearing will take place.
Attorney Robert Williams, representing Billy Walsh–of the same Walsh family that owns Sona Thirteen on South Street, as well as Tashmoo and The Dark Horse, on DeHart–came before the council April 10 to ask for them to first decide whether or not Walsh could transfer a "pocket liquor license (meaning it currently is not attached to any business)" to 10 DeHart St., which is located next to Tashmoo. If approved, that would allow the project–which Williams called "a boutique, 12-lane bowling alley and restaurant"–to then go before the Planning Board, which would then have to decide whether or not to approve it for construction.
Williams told the council the entire project was contingent on having the liquor license. Hence, why they were seeking that portion of the process be discussed before rather than after the Planning Board process.
"This deal does not go forward without a liquor license," he said.
If it was up to those residents who came out to speak on the plan, however, the deal would not go through at all.
"We're tired already of having drunk people outside our homes, and they're all coming from DeHart," said Macculloch Avenue resident Tricia Rosenfield, who moved to Morristown from Brooklyn with her family several years ago. "That's not what we moved here for."
"DeHart is very narrow and small," said Marie Rozan, of the 40 Park luxury condo development. "Within half-a-block, there are so many bars currently. It's already congested. This is way over utilization of this street–we'll have gridlock."
Alison Cutler, of Colles Avenue, noted the property in question has already had a mobile history–having been moved from behind The Community Theatre several years ago to make way for a loading dock.
"It was a great success to move a piece of history," she said. "We know it will not be moved (again); it will be destroyed. It's a sad end to what was a beautiful story."
Mayor Tim Dougherty said at the meeting that a traffic study was already being conducted in that area, in order to determine what should, and could operate there.
Still, with several bars already on DeHart Street, and several more on South Street (including Iron Bar, which is expected to open later this year), Cutler said the idea of another bar in town was disturbing.
"It's a mess on DeHart, it's not a pretty place," she said. "This is not the right project for that street."