LIMA — Lima City Council voted 7-0 to pass a liquor license objection against North Side Firehouse during a special meeting Tuesday night — a day before the state’s May deadline for objections.
The objection against North Side Firehouse was the third objection against liquor permit renewals council had passed this month. Ketzy’s Bar and Levels Lounge, which had similar qualified call for service rates, also received objections after lengthy discussions by council.
The ordinance reads that because “officers from the Lima Police Department have responded to calls for service at the premises resulting in arrests and criminal charges or other police responses related to: assaults; fighting; underage consumption of alcohol; noise disturbances (loud music, yelling, etc.); public intoxication; amongst other problems, … council is opinion that continued operation of this permit premises would substantially and adversely interfere with the public decency, sobriety, peace, good order, property, health, and safety of the public …”
Council President John Nixon said passing the ordinance was the “appropriate action” in order to be consistent with the objections filed against other bars in the community who had high calls for service. Nixon had scheduled Tuesday’s special meeting to vote on North Side Firehouse’s objection after the ordinance against Levels Lounge had been passed just last week. During that vote, a number of councilors, most notably Councilor Jamie Dixon, called the city’s reaction against the bars inconsistent as North Side Firehouse was the only bar that received a warning despite the Lima Police Department pointing out in a communication that all three bars posed similar problems to the larger community.
Councilors passed the objection against North Side Firehouse without discussion immediately exiting an executive session called to consider impending litigation.
North Side Firehouse Owner Frank Lombardo, who had attended the meeting, left immediately after the ordinance was passed.
Tuesday night’s meeting wasn’t the first time Lombardo had been in council chambers for high calls for service. Just last year, Lombardo promised council that he would make the necessary changes to improve safety at his bar, but the latest calls for service rates provided by the Lima Police Department proved to council that an objection was necessary.
Objections filed by council act as red flags for Ohio’s Division of Liquor Control, which takes further action pending a fact-finding mission and subsequent hearing conducted in Columbus. If the division finds that an establishment has not taken the necessary steps to enhance safety, the state may hold on a liquor permit renewal.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.