Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Camden officials to start enforcing business curfew

Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd sent out a letter Monday to city business owners formally notifying them that the city now has a curfew in place.

Camden officials to start enforcing business curfew


Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd sent out a letter Monday to city business owners formally notifying them that the city now has a curfew in place.

“This letter serves as a courtesy to notify you that pursuant to the New Jersey Superior Court’s recent decision, the City of Camden is actively enforcing Ordinance MC-4629,” Redd states, in both English and Spanish.

(Perhaps neither version will be sufficient: Most of the late-night food places that are the focus of the curfew are Chinese restaurants or fried-chicken places owned by other immigrants who don’t speak either language well.)

The city has not said how many businesses will be affected by the curfew.

Three of the plaintiffs in the initial lawsuit challenging the curfew were Broadway Food Court, Super Crown Fried Chicken, and the Great Wall Chinese takeout. 7-Eleven also filed suit since the chain has three stores in Camden, two of which will have to close early because of the curfew.

Both lawsuits were heard together.

But last month, Camden County Superior Court Judge Faustino Fernandez-Vina upheld the business curfew ordinance passed in 2011.

Businesses within 200 feet of residential zones will have to adhere to the following hours of operation:

  • Sunday-Thursday, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday, from 6 a.m. to midnight.

The curfew does not apply to pharmacies or businesses holding liquor licenses or selling fuel.

However, gas station mini-marts within 200 feet of residential zones will have to close, including a few along Admiral Wilson Boulevard, a key artery linking South Jersey and Philadelphia.

In an effort to curb crime, city officials have been pushing since February 2011 to close businesses early, citing a correlation between crime and late-night stores such as Chinese and fried-chicken take-outs. City Council approved the ordinance in August 2011.

The city may revoke the licenses of any business covered under the ordinance that is found to be open past curfew, according to the ordinance that dictates the new hours of operation.

Activist Frank Fulbrook, also a plaintiff, said last week he is considering an appeal.

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About this blog

Allison Steele writes about Camden’s schools, government and businesses. Most importantly, she writes about the city’s residents. She is a former crime reporter who covered the Camden and Philadelphia police departments for the Inquirer. A Philly native, she has been with the Inquirer since 2008.

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