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Outdoor Bar Proposal Rejected by Town Council

Owners of Tashmoo had sought to utilize 7,000-square-foot area behind 10 DeHart St. for 23 days a year.

The latest proposal by owners of several bars in town was shot down by Town Council Tuesday night.

The council rejected a proposal by owners of Tashmoo to extend the liquor license attached to its DeHart Street restaurant to a 7,000-square-foot outdoor space behind adjacent 10 DeHart St., for an outdoor bar that would operate 23 days out of the year.

As had been the case last summer when members of the Walsh family—who also own nearby Dark Horse Lounge and Sona Thirteen—submitted a proposal for a bowling alley with a rooftop bar at 10 DeHart St., several residents spoke out against the idea.

"I was pleased Town Council rejected [the bowling alley]," Community Place resident Cynthia Jeffrey said. "But, when you cut off one head of the Hydra, two come back. This is like 23 heads came back."

Jeffrey, and other residents at the meeting, said the issues they had with the bowling alley proposal several months ago remained.

"DeHart Street is still congested, there is still trash, still narrow streets," she said. "I urge you to act like Hercules—remember, he's the guy that killed the Hydra."

"I am not supportive, and I'm disappointed in the Walsh's for even considering this," Colles Avenue resident Donna McNamara said. "I almost want to call testimony from the last proposal—most of those factors hold true for this."

"I don't think any of you would want to live across the street from this," said Alice Cutler, also of Colles Avenue. "Think carefully about this."

Eduardo Jimenez, the attorney representing David Walsh—who filed the 23 applications on Oct. 15 for liquor license extensions under "DeHart Associates LLC"—noted on multiple occasions the type of crowd that regularly goes to Tashmoo tends to be of an older age than younger crowds at bars like Grasshopper off the Green, Iron Bar, as well as fellow Walsh properties Dark Horse and Sona Thirteen.

On the jukebox there is "way back music," he said. "It's a small bar for an older crowd. It isn't rowdy."

Council Vice President Rebecca Feldman pointed out, however, that at 7,000 square feet, the proposed outdoor bar space was "three times the size of the Dark Horse. Keep that in mind."

Councilwoman Alison Deeb took issue with almost all of the proposed dates for the outdoor bar, which included several around Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Easter and the Morris County St. Patrick's Day Parade. She also pointed to the proposed area's proximity to a number of residents, including those within 100 feet of the premises on Community Place.

Jimenez noted there had recently been "two comparable events" that had been approved by the town, an Oktoberfest event held outside adjacent to George and Martha's American Grille and a comparison that drew several shouts from the audience.

Where the proposed times for the Tashmoo outdoor bar would have been from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. (with a start time of 8 a.m. on Parade Day), Run 4 the Seeing Eye in the adjacent Wells Fargo parking lot was held from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. "And, there was no alcohol," Feldman said.

"Yes, it's a major distinction," Jimenez conceded, another comment that drew noise from the audience.

Council President Michelle Dupree Harris at one point proposed tabling a vote on the applications until questions had been answered for the fire department, health department and police department. 

Jimenez said any adjournment of the matter, however, could result in "irrepairable harm" suffered by his client.

"My response would be 'so what,'" Deeb said. Councilman Stefan Armington added that the applicant had agreed to follow any recommendations made by the various departments, so there was no need to delay a vote. David Walsh, sitting in the front row, nodded in agreement.

"Would I want it in my neighborhood," Councilwoman Raline Smith-Reid asked. "I just don't feel comfortable with it."

Again, Jimenez pointed to the kind of crowd at Tashmoo—which has a capacity of between 70 and 100—as being unique to Morristown. 

When asked later by Patch what would stop a crowd that usually does not go to Tashmoo from going to its outdoor bar, Jimenez said, "there's no way to prevent it."

He said there was a benefit to having the outdoor bar on days where more people were frequenting Morristown, as it would help alleviate overflow. Plus, security staff would keep control of the area, he said.

Still, it wasn't enough to sway council from voting against the idea.

"This could perhaps set a terrible precedent [were it approved,]" Smith-Reid said. "We need to do a little bit more with what's going on regarding our liquor licenses. This is an eye-opener for us."

Only the council president voted against the rejection, citing her wish for it to have been tabled to allow various departments time to weigh in. Councilwoman Toshiba Foster voted for the rejection, citing the same reason.

After the meeting, Jimenez said his client would explore "whatever legal options were available they have a right to persue.

"I have to talk to my clients," he said.

Tuesday's denial by the town was only the latest of recent setbacks for members of the Walsh family and their several Morristown businesses. In addition to the bowling alley denial in July, Walsh patriarch William Walsh's plans for Futbolandia No. 2—a place on Early Street he envisioned as a restaurant with a liquor license serving the Hispanic community—fell through when the property's landlady "clammed up," he told MorristownGreen.com in September. Its liquor license transfer, which had been at the forefront of several contentious meetings, was approved by Town Council in June.

Ray Parker Jr. October 24, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Com-eeey!!!!!! You failed us all today
Chris October 24, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Well, Pazzo Pazzo is a bit pricy/upscale. So of course they have the money and the means to sway peoples minds.
Chris October 24, 2012 at 01:46 PM
I guess people in this town DON'T want to create more jobs. They don't want anyone to do anything. They live in the biggest "city" in Morris County, but want it to be quiet and peaceful with nothing going on. They want the nice downtown, but they don't want anyone to actually be here or do business here.
Michael October 24, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Agreed, think this would have been great. I miss Calaloo aka Yo & Papa just because it was nice to sit outside in the summer. Now the only spot is Pazzo which as someone mentioned above is pretty pricey. People are ridiculous, they should have known what the were getting into when they moved to that area. You can't move into an area with a ton of bars and all of a sudden expect the bars to change.
lorraine gsell October 24, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Great glad the family got shot down they have too many hands in the county and we all know that the brother is on the town council. A concered citizen.
Shotbaker1980 October 24, 2012 at 02:33 PM
It's not like opening an outdoor patio to serve alcohol is going to amount to some epic boon to job creation. Downtown will be fine without it.
Shotbaker1980 October 24, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Yeah, it's a real travesty. I can't even begin to tell you how much sleep this has cost me.
Shotbaker1980 October 24, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Last time I checked, there was something like a couple dozen liqour licenses in town. Hopefully, all those paying customers can somehow make due with what they have.
Chris October 24, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Well, another few bartenders, another security guy, another bar back. Many new small jobs makes a big impact. You are correct, that this won't be epic. But when you have a town that shuts this idea down, the next idea down, kills the bowling alley idea. All of these things can add up to another 100 jobs or so. Its not the fact that the outdoor patio idea got shot down. Its that it seems that any sort of business idea that can bring some more $$$ to Morristown gets shot down. The town board is crippling business growth because they are doing NOTHING but saying NO to every idea that comes across their desk.
Chris October 24, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Actually Shotbaker, if you come into town on any given weekend, there are ALWAYS lines outside the bars. Apparently there are people that come here and want to spend their money, but can't because they can't get in. Or on the other hand, some people don't want to stand neck and neck right against other people. These bars in town suck on weekends BECAUSE there just isn't enough room for all the people who want to go out for a drink. Their packed in there like sardines and it turns people away.
Gary OConnor October 24, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Why is the town board fine with 40 Park residents living so close to 7 bars, but not want Community Place living near one bar? Seems like it should be the other way around. There is no way the Iron Bar is granted their new bar tonight. They sell the cheapest liquor in town and have problems every Friday and Saturday.
Shotbaker1980 October 24, 2012 at 03:27 PM
One hundered jobs? Seriously Chris? Because even 100 jobs at a bar is not going to make a "big impact." This notion that bars somehow congtribute to the economy or greatly enhance the community here is self-serving. They exist for the sole purpose of enriching themselves. Their contrubtion to the local economy is nonexistant. People come to town and can't get in? Yeah, right. God, I wish that was true.
Shotbaker1980 October 24, 2012 at 04:26 PM
You can still sit outside in the summer, Michael, even without a stupid bar. And actually, it's vice versa: the bars can't move to the area and expect it to bend for the sake of greed. To most people, bars, opening or not opening bars, going to bars, etc., are not important. At all. They also don't think a bar opening or not opening is not "bad for Morristown."
AJ October 24, 2012 at 04:30 PM
great decision...this was aimed at capturing the college crowd.....thanksgiving..xmas..new years...st paddy's day..probably have the orange fencing coralling everyone in with portapottys... not something i would want to "navigate" with my young family walking into town to take train rides around the green during christmas time.
Josh October 24, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Chris I fail to see how 23 days (most on major holidays) is going to create any new jobs. I would bet that it would be an extra shift for the current staff they have. And maybe I am missing something but it seems like there are more store openings in the recent months than before. On a side note I was in favor of the bowling alley, which would have brought in some more permanent jobs to the area.
Shotbaker1980 October 24, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Fifty or sixty people fighting each other? I doubt that. But post the pictures. If you want the council "made aware," put some action behind your words.
Alberto October 24, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Jimmy Cavanaugh is best friends with Dougherty. He can do whatever he wants. Over 1,100 capacity with one liquor license is proof. Metro Shop is the best bar in Morristown! 130.5 Speedwell Ave
Chris October 24, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Yeah, I didn't see at first that they just wanted to have it open for just 23 days. Either or... those 23 days are prob the busiest and I am SURE they have extra staff on hand for those busy days. But what I was getting at is that it seems like any idea that comes before the town counsel, they shut it down saying that there will be more noise, it will make more traffic or it will cause more people to come into town. There's this, the bowling alley idea, Iron Bar wants to expand... Morristown has to look at the big picture here. Not one business or just 23 more days are going to create tons of jobs, but many small things make big changes. IMO, it just seems that the town just shoots down any idea that comes before them that will create more business or bring more $$$ to the town.
Chris October 24, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Shotbaker - Maybe some people like to sit outside and have a drink. I know PLENTY that agree with me. But what about the businesses who want to have business meetings at the bars. We do ALL the time. We always go to Pazzo and went to Calaloo a bunch of times. When you are stuck in the office all day, its nice to go outside for a bit.
Chris October 24, 2012 at 06:14 PM
hmm. Id like to see some pictures. I was out this Sat and I didn't see anything. I do know that the streets are flooded with people every night at 2am when the bars close. I wish the bars would keep them inside (but stop serving drinks) instead of kicking everyone out making a rukus outside every night.
Chris October 24, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Um. AJ... Who do you think lives in Morristown. College kids!! Its a college town!! There are 4 colleges with in 2 minutes of town. And who do you think rents all the houses in town or all the the apartment and studio's? All the post college young professionals. That's why I moved here. All my friends graduated and moved to Morristown! And yes, I know there are a bunch of families, too. But this town should keep all of their residents happy and not just one demographic. I mean, we pay taxes, too.
Shotbaker1980 October 24, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Why would you wait until late Friday and Saturday night to take your "young family" to the Green?
AJ October 24, 2012 at 08:40 PM
learn to read you dopes Where the proposed times for the Tashmoo outdoor bar would have been from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. (with a start time of 8 a.m. on Parade Day), Run 4 the Seeing Eye in the adjacent Wells Fargo parking lot was held from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. "And, there was no alcohol," Feldman said. and morristown is NOT a college town..btw i happened to go to one of those schools and we didnt come to morristown..so dont talk about what you dont know..
AJ October 24, 2012 at 08:41 PM
further majority of the people coming to the bars dont live in town
Tryclyde October 25, 2012 at 05:30 PM
The proposed area of this outside bar would be getting precariously close to the residential area and I could see people in the neighborhood getting upset about it.
Tryclyde October 25, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Because the bars were there BEFORE 40 Park.
Tryclyde October 25, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I've never heard anybody refer to Morristown as a college town before.
Chris October 25, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Yeah, there are TONS of young people in this town. I am a 20 something and there are throngs of young people who live in this town. And if not, they live in Cedar Knolls, Whippany or Morris Township. And actually, when I did my Grad work at FDU, everyone went out to Mo-town after class. The undergrads were always talking about going out to Mo-town all the time. So maybe technically not a college town... But a Young Professional town.
Chris October 25, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Even so, obviously it seems like there is a high demand. I mean, there are three different businesses are trying to get liquor licenses right now. I know we already have a bunch of bars/restaurants, but Morristown has become a town where people want to come to to hang out, walk the town and get a drink. No matter who it is, young or old, it appears there is pretty high demand for establishments who want to serve Alcohol. And obviously, there are plenty of people who want to come to Morristown to drink at these establishments. Businesses come and go, but bars are never empty.
AJ October 25, 2012 at 06:48 PM
chris..i could agree wit that..that being said..their long term goals are not in line with the long term goals of many homeowners in the town..its great that morristown has made the comeback, and is a destination, but having a beer garden in a parking lot....think thats a little excessive and a stretch with respect to what morristown needs at this point. i live down the street from here grew up in the township..bar scene, restaurant scene has never been stronger.. plan on having my kids go to the schools..we wont miss the beer garden...think at this point theyre throwing grenades in a pond and trying to see what floats to the top.

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