An Ocean County Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Lenny’s Pizza & Italian Grill against the borough of Lavallette over the the town’s regulations on liquor licenses, officials said.
The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning Lenny’s cannot refile the case. Another legal action by Lenny’s is pending before the an administrative law judge that takes aim at Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulations.
The suit centered on a Lavallette borough ordinance that prohibits two establishments within 1,500 feet of one another from serving alcohol. Lenny’s holds a liquor license and wishes to serve alcohol, but has been unable to do so because of its proximity to the Crab’s Claw Inn across Route 35 north. The Italian restaurant has held its license in an inactive status while the matter has wound its way through the legal system.
The legal action came after an attorney for Phil and Benny D’Aloisio, the owners of Lenny’s, asked for relief from the ordinance, but admitted that due to the number of members of the public who were expected to speak against its rescission, it would be a better course of action for the owners to have the liquor license transfer formally denied so they could work within the court system to resolve the dispute. At the meeting, Mayor Walter LaCicero acknowledged several homeowners, as well as the Wexford Condominium Association, were opposed to Lenny’s serving alcohol. Other residents said they were not opposed to the idea as long as there was not a bar in the establishment.
At the 2014 meeting, Council President Anita Zalom made a motion to rescind the 1,500 foot regulation. Her motion garnered the support of only one other member of the governing body – former Councilman Lee Horan – and failed.
LaCiero said Monday that officials expect the remaining case before the administrative law judge to be wrapped up soon. After that occurs, the issue will effectively be settled.
As for Lenny’s: “I understand they have another plan,” he said. “I don’t know what it is, but I suspect it’s something further than 1,500 feet.”