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Curtailing Bar Noise a ‘Top Priority’ For Lavallette, Officials Say

Capriccio By the Sea, in Ortley Beach and Lavallette. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Capriccio By the Sea, in Ortley Beach and Lavallette. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

After a third borough council meeting during which residents of the southeastern portion of Lavallette complained about too much noise and partying at a local bar and restaurant, Mayor Walter LaCicero said it would become a “top priority” to quiet things down.

The residents, for the past six weeks, have been complaining about loud music and late-night conversations spilling out onto the street outside Capriccio By the Sea, an Italian restaurant and bar that features live entertainment several nights a week.

The music “begins on Wednesday” and reaches its peak on Saturday night, one resident told council members, saying music from the Route 35 establishment can be heard a block away, and the live entertainment has led to a nightlife atmosphere neighbors are not used to.

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“No one ever had an issue until this year,” said Mary Semler, whose residence is located on Route 35.”The residents around this place have had no quality of life, whatsoever.”

The property is owned by Kim Pascarella, a local attorney who now serves as Senior Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor. Capriccio’s lease the property from him and use its liquor license. The restaurant, on Dover Avenue, is literally split between Toms River Township and Lavallette, but holds a Lavallette liquor license.

LaCicero said he previous met with Pascarella, who reached an agreement with his tenant to cut the music by 11 p.m. and stop serving alcohol by 1 a.m. The agreement, however, hasn’t satisfied neighbors, who are asking borough officials to go after the bar’s liquor license.

The situation grew even worse after there was, apparently, some confusion over whether Toms River or Lavallette police have jurisdiction over noise ordinance enforcement

“There are a lot of eyes on them,” said LaCicero.

Sources in town said representatives from the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control were on site.

“You resolve the problem, think it’s gone, and then they push the boundaries again,” LaCicero said, asking neighbors to “help us build the record” of incidents that can be brought to the attention of the state ABC.

“All I have, when we go to do enforcement, is the record that I have,” said Borough Administrator John O. Bennett, echoing the mayor’s suggestion to call Lavallette police whenever a noise complaint should be lodged.

A call placed to the restaurant on Tuesday seeking comment was not returned.