WEST NEW YORK -- Around 150 supporters of the West New York restaurant Son Cubano stood outside of the town’s middle school at 5:30 p.m. Monday night wearing “I support Son Cubano” t-shirts and holding signs that read “Say no to ordinance 25/11” and “Unfair legislation.” Son Cubano’s spokesman, Raoul Vincente, led the crowd in a chant recycling the famous anti-Vietnam protest: “Hell no, we won’t go!”
Hours later, Mayor Felix Roque and the West New York Town Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance that will require any restaurant with a liquor license within 100 feet of any residence or condo within the “Controlled Waterfront Development District” to close by 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and midnight Friday and Saturday.
The only restaurant this affects is Son Cubano.
The business normally stays open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and has live music and dancing, which has been a source of complaints from residents of the nearby waterfront luxury buildings, Roque has said. Those complaints inspired Roque to propose the ordinance in May when he was elected as West New York’s new mayor.
Attorneys representing the residents, the restaurant, the town, and the board of alcoholic beverage control spent a good portion of the meeting questioning both the legitimacy of the ordinance and exactly whose jurisdiction the matter falls under. Approximately 40 audience members from both sides pleaded their cases.
Son Cubano engineer Louis J. Luglio accused the town of "spot zoning" and pointed out that the area's residents make up less than 20 percent of the municipality while their incomes ran nearly four times the average income of the rest of the town.
Board of Education member Christine Piscitelli said she lives in a unit directly above San Cubano and has experienced 11 months of "sleep deprivation, anxiety, and stress."
Though the ordinance was passed, Vincente promised to bring the matter to litigation.
For more details about the meeting, read this weekend's issue of the West New York Reporter. --Gennarose Pope