Committee talks renewal issue with bar owners

By Josh Ellerbrock -

Main entrance to the Gas Station bar in Lima.  Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

Main entrance to the Gas Station bar in Lima. Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

LIMA — At the end of Monday’s Safety Services Committee meeting, no motions had been made, but both bar owners and council members got a chance to voice their opinions about potential objections to liquor permit renewals for three establishments — North Side Firehouse, the Gas Station Bar and BeanTown Saloon.

At the start of the meeting, Frank Lombardo, owner of North Side Firehouse, objected to the number of calls for service categorized under his establishment claiming that some of the “fights” that police responded to were placed incorrectly at his bar. Lombardo, 68, opened North Side Firehouse almost 38 years ago.

But Counselors Rebecca Kreher and Carla Thompson had further questions considering the objections brought forward by Lombardo.

Kreher asked Lombardo what he has done to try to curb the number of calls for service. He replied he changed the type of music and fired the former disc jockey.

“You can’t stand here and say it’s not your fault,” Thompson said. “I’ve heard no one take responsibility for the police calls.”

According to documents filed by Police Chief Kevin Martin, the number of qualified calls for service at North Side Firehouse has overcome thresholds set by the Lima Police Department (LPD) for at least a two-year period.

The city already has a pending liquor permit objection for the Gas Station Bar, which is currently awaiting a hearing to be set by Ohio’s Division of Liquor Control. As for BeanTown Saloon, the objection to its liquor permit renewal is legally in line with an objection of a permit transfer from the current holder, Derek Solomon, to Helen Ruth Investments.

Helen Ruth Investments owns both the Gas Station Bar and manages Beantown Saloon, which are both located in the 100 block of East North Street. Beantown Manager Michael Liles said the bar has installed a metal detector and hired four extra security personnel to curb potential violence on the block.

By the end of the meeting, after more than a few points and counterpoints by both the city and bar owners, Committee Chairman Derry Glenn asked if bar owners would welcome an hour-long training session to lay out the city’s expectations.

“Sounds good, Derry. Sounds good,” Lombardo said from the audience.

Glenn also recommended instituting a code system to ensure calls for service are categorized correctly when business owners contact the LPD.

As all counselors attended the meeting as audience members, Glenn made no official motions and said he’d let the city council make the final decision on permit objections without a recommendation from the committee. He also said he would consider bringing forward code control and further education as a motion for the board at a later date.

Lima City Council has the ability to object to a liquor permit renewal and call for a hearing before Ohio’s Division of Liquor Control, who makes the final decision on a renewal.

Main entrance to the Gas Station bar in Lima. Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News entrance to the Gas Station bar in Lima. Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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