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Kinnelon Underage Drinking Ordinance Introduced

Councilman said borough needs to provide more activities to deter teens from drinking.

With relatively little discussion, the voted Thursday 5-to-1 in favor of the introduction of on underage drinkers found in possession of alcohol on private property. Councilman Jim Freda voted against the introduction of the ordinance.

The ordinance and various versions of it have been discussed by the council over the past year, with on the consequences that should be included in the ordinance. In the version the council introduced Thursday, fines would be imposed on those found guilty of underage drinking, and, under egregious circumstances, a judge could suspend a driver's license. An educational component is also included as a potential penalty.

Resident Carla Mecionis asked the council whether adults who are found to have hosted underage drinking at their private residences could still be penalized under the new ordinance. Borough Attorney Mark Madaio confirmed that the hosting laws would still apply even if the ordinance is enacted.

Councilman Ron Mondello, who also voted in favor of the ordinance, said the hosting laws, as they relate to the ordinance, need to be more thoroughly looked at before the ordinance is adopted. Mondello noted that under the ordinance, if alcohol was left alone in the home and the adult had knowledge of the possibility of an underage person using it, they could be in violation.

"I am not without some concerns," he said.

Creating penalties is not the only thing the borough should be doing to deter its youth from drinking, according to Councilman Andrew SanFilippo.

SanFilippo said he "was lucky enough to grow up in this town," and that he remembers more activities, such as Battle of the Bands, available for teenagers when he was young.

"There were things to do as a community that didn't necessarily circle around drinking," he said.

Referencing a comment Mayor Bob Collins made earlier in the meeting about the borough working to possibly develop a community center, SanFilippo said he would like to see such a center offer activities for the borough's youth, as well as other populations in the borough.

"I feel that the underage drinking in this town is starting to alarm me," he said. "I feel that we need to, as a group, we need to come up with something for the kids to do."

The council will be holding a public hearing on the ordinance before voting on its adoption at the May 17 meeting at 8 p.m. at the Kinnelon Municipal Building.

M. Justicel April 26, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Everyone should take a deep breath and have someone proof read what they post. A lawsuit against the Borough? How about the family that is sued because their child died from alcohol consumption in their house where the party was hosted. The devastation of an alcohol related car accident with teenagers dead or paralyzed. The family of five involved in the accident? What about them? We only worry about these things after they happen! Before the tragedy, we attack everyone trying to prevent it. Cheap shots at the Borough and the police for doing their job. If nothing was ever done to address the problem and this ordinance was just a thought, you would blame the Borough and police for not doing anything. Talk to a parent or family who has been affected by underage drinking. Maybe you will change your tune!
For real justice April 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM
M justice you speak like a retired police officer on the council. Tell me how this law will stop what you describe? It won't. There are already laws on the books to discourage this behavior. They obviously do not work. We need fresh ideas. If laws like this worked then our jails would be empty. We need something for our children to do in a safe environment. Creating opportunities to change behavior do work. Go interview a few students that have gotten caught and ask them what would have helped them make a better choice and you will realize this law does nothing to solve the problem. Btw how many days has our chief who doesn't live in town actually spend in our community?
M. Justicel April 27, 2012 at 07:17 PM
For Real Justice, No, I do not speak like a retired police officer on the council! I don't claim that any law stops or prevents crime! If you read my comments to what others have said, you would have noted that I do not believe the ordinance will stop underage drinking. No law past, present, or future deters anyone from doing what they want. What exactly is the real injustice? Is it stopping the underdeveloped minds and bodies of teens from consuming alcohol? Possibly stopping them from getting in a car after a party where irresponsible parents allowed the underage drinking to take place and preventing the car wreck that killed or injured me or my family on the road? Please explain? I find it difficult understanding what your title "For Real Justice" means! Believe this, I speak from experience! I have a teenager. An extremely responsible one. Why is that? I'm a responsible parent and involved with everything he does. Both my wife and I can pat ourselves on the back for the way he was brought up and I have no problem pronouncing it. Here is a fresh idea, make parents more responsible! Lastly, exactly what is a teenager going to say that will change anything? Are you serious? Grown adults need the opinions of children, and yes that is what they are, to change the way things are done? Life doesn't work that way and never will. I listened to what my Father told me to do, and my son will listen to what I tell him to do! That's the way life is!
I'mKindOfABigDeal May 05, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Frankly, teenagers are going to drink no matter what. And if we look back to Alcohol Prohibition in 1920, you'll find that more people drank purely for the sake of it being illegal. When the riots ended and the amendment was anulled, the rate of drinking went slightly down because it was legal again. These kids are drinking and smoking because they want to feel cool. Everyone else does it, so why shouldn't they? They just want to have fun. If drinking ages went down to 18, less people would drink; or at least drink a lot like teenagers do Kinnelon kids enjoy drinking until they black out. Lowering the drinking age would solve problems. Don't get me wrong because I know that it won't end every problem, but it might help. Deuces.
CP July 05, 2012 at 03:27 PM
why is it that with all the taxes we pay- we cant have a place for these teens to go and "hang out" in a safe environment? It could save the life of our children and others! These kids are bored and when bored- mischief happens.

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