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Ocean City Votes Tomorrow On BYOB Ballot Question

Ocean City residents will finally have their say Tuesday on an issue that has been swirling around the dry resort town.

Ocean City
Flickr User Craig-Photography

A ballot question will be held to decide whether to allow customers to bring wine and beer to Ocean City eateries.

The move got into motion last year by the Ocean City Restaurant Association, when they sought to reverse the strict rules in place that prohibit BYOB service  in Ocean City restaurants.

The restaurants contended that these rules hamstrung them from competing with neighboring towns, especially during the off-season.

Enough signatures were obtained back in the fall, but supporters of the measure withdrew the request to put it ballot because of a language snafu over beer and wine limits.  That was all rectified this year, with no limit set, and the ballot question was accepted in March to go before voters on Tuesday.

The issue has brought out fervent supporters and opponents.  Supporters cite being able to compete in this tougher economic climate, while opponents do not want to tarnish Ocean City’s pristine image as a family resort.

Both sides have taken their fight across the city for months, holding meetings to express their views, as well as into the world of social media to spread their message.

The law, at question, was written in 1984 to prohibit consumption of alcohol in the city’s restaurants.  The city, however, has always been dry, meaning no alcohol is sold anywhere on the island.

If the measures passes on Tuesday, restaurants can change over to the new rules immediately, but do not have to adapt at a certain time, or at all, if they so choose.

While a topic, such as this, may not resonate around many New Jersey towns because drinking at restaurants has always been permitted, this is as hot-button an issue to ever hit this town, where these laws are embedded into the moral fiber of the island.

Months of back-and-forth finger-pointing and campaigning comes to a close on Tuesday.

At stake, the right to uncork a bottle of wine or crack a beer that you brought with you to your favorite Ocean City restaurant.

That is, unless the restaurant is on the Boardwalk, which would not apply to these rule changes.

It is a lot to take in for a right that most around the Garden State take for granted on a given night.

Tuesday will go down as an historic day for residents of Ocean City.

 

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