LIMA — Lima City Council approved a motion objecting to liquor permit renewals for the BeanTown Saloon and the Gas Station Bar, but a contested 4-3 vote failed to provide the two-thirds needed to pass a similar motion that could potentially result in the closure of North Side Firehouse.
The city is able to file objections to liquor permit renewals and call for hearings with Ohio’s Division of Liquor Control, which has the final say in the approval of a business’s liquor permit.
Since the state’s decision is based on evidence, BeanTown Saloon Manager Michael Liles said he doesn’t foresee the conflict resulting in the closure of his business, as changes have been made by the owners to make the establishment safer, such as the hiring of more security and installation of a metal detector.
“We’re good business people, and we’re doing good business,” Liles said.
The city is currently involved in a lawsuit against the owners and managers of The Gas Station Bar and BeanTown Saloon after 36-year-old Davohn Godsey was shot and killed at 126 E. North St., the former location of Gas Station Bar, in 2017. A second person, 30-year-old Marlon Godsey, also suffered a gunshot wound in the incident.
The city, however, failed to object to renewal of the liquor permit held by Frank Lombardo, owner of the North Side Firehouse. Lombardo, who opened the bar almost 38 years ago, went before council members last week during the city’s safety service committee meeting to make his case against the objection.
Four council members — Jon Neeper, Jamie Dixon, Carla Thompson and Rebecca Kreher — voted for the objection.
“I want to see effort and proof that they are attempting to maintain a safe establishment,” Thompson said. “Demonstrate to me that you’re working on establishing a safe establishment, and I will support you wholeheartedly.”
Councilors Derry Glenn, Todd Gordon and John Nixon voted against it.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Frank Lombardo would want to run his establishment and never have to call the police,” Nixon said.
Councilor Sam McLean, who is currently applying for a liquor permit, abstained due to the conflict of interest.
The objection will go in front of city council for a second reading in two weeks.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.