Videos: Tashmoo expansion approved in Morristown, complete meeting, reactions

Assistant Town Attorney Elnardo Webster II reviews Tashmoo agreement with Morristown council members prior to vote. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Assistant Town Attorney Elnardo Webster II reviews Tashmoo agreement with Morristown council members prior to vote. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Cable TV wasn’t there for Wednesday’s council approval  of the controversial Tashmoo bar expansion. But MorristownGreen.com was, and we have video of the entire proceeding for you.

Assistant Town Attorney Elnardo Webster II reviews Tashmoo agreement with Morristown council members prior to vote. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Assistant Town Attorney Elnardo Webster II reviews Tashmoo agreement with Morristown council members prior to vote. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The above segment, about 10 minutes long, has the 6-1 vote. More precisely:

00:06 KEVIN GSELL, Council
Acknowledges relationship to applicant
00:46 ELNARDO WEBSTER II, Asst. Town Attorney:
Tashmoo agrees to:
Last call at 11 pm
Roof closes at 10 pm
Trash stored inside
Maximum 44 bar stools
Maximum 15 stools per bar
Cleanup of litter, debris outside by 7 am
No more than 30 percent floor space for entertainment
No outdoor alcohol
Recyclables stored inside
Maximum two-story building
02:53 RALINE SMITH-REID, Council:
Can council revisit these issues at annual liquor license renewal?
(ELNARDO WEBSTER: Yes)
04:47 ALISON DEEB, Council:
Can we make it conditional on street parking changes?
(ELNARDO WEBSTER: Not consensus of council)
06:40 REBECCA FELDMAN, Council:
Questions actual height, occupancy of proposed restaurant
07:37 ROBERT WILLIAMS, Tashmoo attorney:
Occupancy will not increase, though upstairs size may increase
08:00 STEFAN ARMINGTON, Council:
Fire department, planning board will keep occupancy in check
08:35 REBECCA FELDMAN:
Last year we denied smaller facility here
09:00 ROBERT WILLIAMS:
Seating won’t exceed 304
10:00 MATT STECHAUNER, Town Clerk:
Calls vote. Passes 6-1; Alison Deeb votes no.

Below is a playlist where you can access five video clips. Parts 1 and 2, totaling just over an hour, chronicle the council debate over the expansion. Then comes the vote. Finally, there are short interviews with Morristown resident Ravitte Ginsberg and Tashmoo attorney Robert Williams. Click the bottom of the video player to toggle among the videos.

Or you can access the videos separately here:

PART 1: COUNCIL DEBATES TASHMOO EXPANSION

00:00 ELNARDO WEBSTER II, Asst. Town Attorney :
Explains format
00:40 ROBERT WILLIAMS, Tashmoo Attorney :
Meets all legal requirements
Definitely a restaurant
Other bar problems ‘insignificant’
Zoned for expansion
Volunteers 12:30 am ‘last call’
Early closing ‘recipe for failure’
A $3M investment
07:30 ELNARDO WEBSTER II
Disregard Bill Braunschweiger complaints of ‘alcohol-fueled mayhem’
09:00 ALISON DEEB, Council:
Current conditions ‘very viable, legitimate’
Noise concerns about retractable roof
Approved Futbol-Landia with conditions
Wants doors closed; Williams protests (19:00)
22:00 RALINE SMITH-REID, Council
Weekly hours of operation?
Proposes 11 pm last call weeknights
Proposes 11 pm roof closure weekends
28:00 STEFAN ARMINGTON, Council:
Supported bowling alley
Doesn’t feel same way here
Residents don’t like zoning; can change that soon
Tashmoo leased? (Yes)
Tashmoo owns expansion lot? (Yes)
What if lease is lost?
‘Becomes pocket license; premises de-licensed’ (Williams, 29:00)
Residential-only street parking would help
‘Noise expert’: Warns about roof noise
Trash, recycling storage: Inside?
Council cut no. of bar stools in half at Gran Cantina
Proposes fewer bar stools
Notes 11 pm last call at Gran Cantina
Notes zoning rear- and side setback requirements (39:30)
41:30 KEVIN GSELL, Council:
Youngest council member
More familiar with nightlife
Nightlife makes town attractive to young people
Understands obligation to represent everyone
Works late; he and wife enjoy late dining
Not sure about ‘right time’ to close
Tashmoo 12:30 am last call ‘a fair offer’
46:00 REBECCA FELDMAN, Council:
Council rejected 200-person bowling alley last year
This proposal for 300 people
Open roof equals ‘outdoor beer garden’
Restaurants must close sidewalk dining by 11 pm
Cites problems with public drunkenness, noisy recycling of beer bottles
Same reasons for denying bowling alley apply here
Residents have spoken clearly
Area has ‘reached saturation,’ this adds to it
Kellogg Club indoor party too noisy for neighbors
Questions garbage truck numbers, access
Plans include open courtyard; open roof not needed
Proposes no alcohol after 11 pm
Supports indoor trash/recycling storage, less bar space
‘Sounds like a great restaurant’
52:30 TOSHIBA FOSTER, Council
Likes idea of seafood restaurant
But sounds more like a bar
Opposes retractable roof as ‘quality of life’ issue
Not fair for neighbors to be awakened by noise
Nobody has seen retractable roof
Four bar areas ‘excessive for a restaurant’
Cites 11 pm liquor curfew at Gran Cantina
Obligation to respect neighbors and businesses
Supports growing businesses
Likes 11 pm last call
Need fair solution for all
56:00 MICHELLE DUPREE HARRIS, Council President:
Knows first-hand about loud neighbors
Voted for Futbol-Landia and Gran Cantina
Supports Tashmoo if…
Roof closes at 9 pm
Courtyard closes as 11 pm
Last call at 11:30
Three bar areas, not four; fewer stools

PART 2: COUNCIL DEBATES TASHMOO EXPANSION

00:56 ROBERT WILLIAMS, Tashmoo attorney:
Suggests midnight alcohol cutoff
Says 9 pm roof closure too early on nice evenings
02:00 STEFAN ARMINGTON, Council:
State noise ordinance strict after 10 pm
02:50 REBECCA FELDMAN, Council:
Council rejected rooftop bar/ bowling alley last year
04:20 STEFAN ARMINGTON:
Roof can be made quiet…it’s expensive
Planning board will require noise info
Town must enforce noise laws.
Applicant should not be penalized for town disinterest in enforcement
BREAK FOR LAWYERS TO NEGOTIATE.

TASHMOO EXPANSION APPROVED

Synopsis above.

RESIDENT REACTS TO TASHMOO APPROVAL

Ravitte Ginsberg, who had testified against the proposal, says the council appears to have addressed residents’ concerns.

TASHMOO REACTS TO APPROVAL

Robert Williams, attorney for Tashmoo, says he is pleased with the outcome.

MORE COVERAGE OF TASHMOO

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