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Save The Barclay

I regret that I couldn’t get to the meeting about the Barclay in time last week to put my 2 cents in on the subject.  Not that it would have made any difference, but if I was able to speak I would have supported the Vitas’ request to allow an expansion of their license. 

As always, my feeling is that people have the right to live their lives, and to use their property, in a way that affords them maximum happiness.  If the government wishes to restrict peoples’ actions, I believe a compelling case must be made that this will interfere with somebody’s right to pursue their own happiness and enjoy their own property.  I know this position commonly puts me at odds with public opinion, and in this case with some of my friends, but I have to be honest.

I just don’t see it as highly likely that serving meals and drinks on the third floor of the Barclay will do any great harm to the surrounding neighborhood.  The Vitas have stated that they respect the residents’ wishes to keep the area quiet and clean.  They have said they will not operate the business in a way that would harm the neighborhood.  They seem like perfectly decent people to me and I believe them.  If any problems did arise, I’m sure the Vitas would do what they could to remedy them.

I know how difficult it would have been to vote in favor of the Vitas’ application after all the embarrassment that the Barclay’s donation (s?) caused the governing Democrats.  There certainly would have been (perhaps justified) grumbling  of a possible quid-pro-quo.  But I see no evidence of that or that the Vitas broke any campaign laws.  The donation imbroglio following last year’s election was not their fault.  It should not interfere with their right to earn a living. 

It’s fairly obvious that with it’s current restrictions the Barclay can not be profitable.  If public pressure prevents the Vitas from fully utilizing their property, the Barclay will most likely go away.  Are we all ready to see that grand old historic building disappear, and all those people thrown out of work, when that outcome could have been prevented?  The place will sit vacant and decaying for years while the bankruptcy winds it’s way through the courts.  And what will replace it?  Can it’s neighbors be sure they will be able to control what goes there?  Will they be able to prevent the state from forcing us to build high density “affordable housing ” there?

 I hope the Vitas’ appeal is successful.  Call me sentimental, but I’ll miss seeing all the wedding parties posing at the gazebo.  And with nobody having their weddings in Belmar, Matt won’t have as many opportunities to perform marriages, something I know he’s been wanting to do.


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