Ship part

Gaming License Gets Approval in Ship Bottom

(Photo by Ryan Morrill)

And the winner is: Wainwright Amusement LLC. The owners and operators of Fantasy Island in Beach Haven received the final approval needed to create a family-style entertainment center at Causeway Circle in Ship Bottom on Tuesday evening August 23.

“I’m excited to move forward,” Wainwright said after his gaming license application was approved following a public hearing in which a handful of residents spoke for or against the game. question in front of a large audience.

Council Chairman Edward English was not present at the meeting and Councilor David Hartman was not present for the vote. Hartman is part of a lawsuit that has challenged whether Wainwright Amusements should obtain a gaming license.

Since the early 2000s, Ship Bottom has limited the number of amusement licenses to two. Hartland Golf and Arcade and Our Endless Summer, located at opposite ends of the city’s approximately 1-mile Long Beach Boulevard strip, each have one of these licenses. They sued Wainwright Amusement and the land use board, arguing that amusement and gaming facilities are prohibited in all areas by the borough’s zoning ordinance.

The final vote was 3-1 with Councilman Joseph Valyo, Robert Butkus and Peter Rossi voting in favor of Wainwright Amusement LLC; Tom Tallon chose to go against the approval. Borough Attorney Christopher J. Connors said the license would not be active until the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement gives approval.

Ahead of the vote, Wainwright testified before council saying, “We never intended it to be this, the idea that friends and family would argue over something as trivial as a family entertainment center. . I hope it will end tonight and we can work together.

Also ahead of the vote, attorney Dennis Galvin, representing Hartland Golf and Arcade and Our Endless Summer, encouraged the board to let the case play out in court a bit longer, saying any affirmative decision “would change the course of game, and it wouldn’t be level.Galvin also said they were appealing the latest court rulings, adding, “We won’t be able to walk away.”

In April 2019, the majority of the Ship Bottom Land Use Board agreed that Wainwright Amusement LLC met the criteria for a land use gap on the vacant site, located between Seventh and Eighth Streets on the Boulevard. A use exemption was necessary because entertainment is not a permitted use in the general commercial sector of the borough.

This decision triggered a series of events that ended last night with a victory lap.

Plans for the site include an updated and technologically savvy entertainment center on site. The lot dimensions include a frontage of 200 feet on the boulevard with a depth of 160 feet and a total area of ​​32,000 square feet.

At any given time, the governing body may introduce an ordinance limiting the number of gaming licenses to be issued in the borough. It was not on the agenda for August 23.

—Gina G. Scala

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