Ocean View Debates Later "Last Call" at Bars - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Ocean View Debates Later "Last Call" at Bars

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OCEAN VIEW, Del. - At The Salted Rim, a bartender dipped a margarita glass in a layer of salt Tuesday afternoon. She was preparing one of their specialty margaritas. Behind the bartender sits a row of alcoholic drinks from beer to liquor. But come 11:30 p.m., the tap will run dry. 

This restaurant, just like all in the town of Ocean View follows a strict "last call" ordinance, that mandates all restaurants and bars cut off drinks at 11:30 p.m., with consumption ending at 12:00 a.m. Meanwhile, Delaware law mandates that all restaurants have a last call at 1:00 a.m., with consumption ending at 1:30 a.m. 

To address this, The Salted Rim made a request to the town to change the local ordinance, to match state law. As a result the council began debating the issue, and are now nearing a vote.

"Normally the people that are here don't really like that they have to leave at 11:30," said Karen Fritz who is an owner at the restaurant. "And we've had requests like 'why don't you do something about it? Why don't you look into it?'"

The Planning and Zoning Commission in the town has already suggested that the council adopt the change. Meanwhile the town held one public hearing to debate the issue. At their October council meeting, they will once again have a public hearing, before voting. 

Councilman Robert Lawless said he will vote for the change. 

"You have to balance concerns with the needs of a business that is providing jobs," he said. "And it's a viable business for our town. 

Others though, such as Councilman William Olsen, have some concern. Olsen said he got some warnings from local realtors. 

"I went to three different firms," he said. "One realtor said this is one way to change the character of the town. Two other ones said just flat out 'No. We don't want that.'"

Jo Marra, who recently moved from New Jersey, said that she would be against the change since she wants the area to remain a quiet resort town. 

"I think Bethany and Ocean View is a quiet community," she said. "I think it should stay a quiet community. There are other towns all around that kids can party at. My kids come down. They're 22 and 24. And they go to Dewey. They go to Ocean City. Seacrets." 

But Fritz said that bars like the Salted Rim are not looking to be a party bar. 

"I don't think we're changing the culture," she said. "I think we're just adding to the culture. Giving them another option. And keeping the business in the area rather than forcing them to go somewhere else if they want to have a late night snack."

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