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2 N.J.A.R. 218

Raritan Rd. Baptist Church v. Cranford, Township of & Coachman Inn & Restaurant, Inc
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Citation: 2 N.J.A.R. 218
Decision Date: 1980
Synopsis: Raritan Road Baptist Church sought judgment against the Township of Cranford and the Coachman Restaurant, Inc. declaring that the opening and paving of a city street to provide access to the restaurant would violate N.J.S.A. 33:1-76 which prohibits the issuance of a liquor license for the sale of alcoholic beverages within 200 feet of a church. In a preliminary determination, the administrative law judge noted that although the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control had technically transmitted this contested case as an appeal, the judge would handle the matter as if it had been transmitted for a declaratory ruling on the basis of N.J.A.C. 1:1-3.9 and 1:1.9.7(e). The judge noted that while N.J.S.A. 33:1-76 precludes the issuance of a license for the sale of alcoholic beverages within 200 feet of a church, the statute was silent as to the conflict in this case, created by the enactment of a municipal ordinance. The judge concluded, however, that given Coachman's interest in the improvement project and the Division's exceedingly broad regulatory powers, ABC had the authority to determine whether the street improvement would affect Coachman's license at the time of renewal. As to the actual distance measurement, the administrative law judge noted the N.J.S.A. 33:1-76 provides that the 200 foot measurement 'shall be measured in a normal way that a pedestrian would properly walk from the nearest entrance of said church . . . to the nearest entrance of the premises to be licensed' and that of the numerous ways a pedestrian could Bev. Con., 53 N.J. Super. 271 (App. Div. 1968) certif. den., 29 N.J. 137 (1958). On that basis, the judge determined that the distance was to be measured from the nearest church entrance through the restaurant's parking State of New Jersey 219 lot to the nearest entrance to the Coachman's restaurant - a distance of over 300 feet. Accordingly, the administrative law judge declared that the street improvement would not impair Coachman's liquor license and would not violateN.J.S.A. 33:1-76. Paul Williams, Esq., for Petitioner. Ira D. Dorian, Esq., for Respondent, the Coachman Inn and Restaurant Edward J. Toy, Esq., for Respondent, the Township of Cranford
Citation Tracker adopted-Div. of A.B.C.; affirmed -App. Div., A-2773-80, 5/14/82 (unreported) [Updated through 1991]