PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission on Tuesday approved a resolution to object to the renewal of Z’s Sportsbar’s liquor permit by a vote of 4-1, with commissioner Bill Vogt voting against the objection.
The city’s objection does not mean that Z’s liquor permit renewal is rejected, though, as the decision is up to the state’s Division of Liquor Control under the Ohio Department of Commerce, and the city is not the only entity filing an objection to Z’s liquor permit renewal. The state treasurer’s office is also expected to object to the renewal of Z’s liquor license due to outstanding sales taxes.
From here, the state is expected to set a hearing on the liquor permit, currently held by Marlo Investments LLC, DBA.
City Attorney Stacy Wall explained that the city received a letter from the state that the two-year liquor permits for businesses in Piqua are up in June and that any objections to liquor permit renewals needed to be postmarked by May 2.
“Based upon the activity that has taken place over the last two years, it is requested that the liquor license be objected to,” Wall said.
Wall compared calls for service that the Piqua Police Department responded to at bars in Piqua during that two-year period, saying that Bing’s had three calls for service while Z’s had 221 calls, which was the highest number for bars in Piqua. Wall also said that “there has not been cooperation” from Z’s on the prosecution side of these calls.
Commissioner Kris Lee asked for clarification on whether this objection stops Z’s from selling alcohol. Wall said that it will be up to the Division of Liquor Control. The commission also can later rescind their objection to the renewal of Z’s liquor permit.
Vogt said that he frequents Z’s and does not see anything out of order when he goes. He also said that the business recently acquired a new owner, saying, “He’s trying real hard to get that job done.” Vogt suggested having an officer walk around that area at night.
A number of supporters of Z’s — as well as Don Winters, the current operator of Z’s — spoke during public comment, including in regard to the number of police calls. Winters said that he became the manager of Z’s in January 2017 and the owner of Z’s in November 2017, although the ownership has not yet been officially transferred due to unpaid taxes.
Commissioner John Martin asked if they could compare police calls during that time period. Wall said that there were three pages of police calls for Z’s starting in January 2017 with approximately 50 calls per page. Wall said that Bing’s had two calls and 311 Drafthouse had approximately 20 calls during that time.
During public comment, Winters said that he has cooperated with police during those calls. Winters attributed the police calls to the previous owner.
Others spoke in support of the business, including Holly Osborn, who said, “I do go to Z’s, and it’s like a family.”
Another member of the audience said that he felt welcome at Z’s as a member of the LGBT community, calling Z’s his “home.”
Art Love, who has been a volunteer at Z’s, said that Winters has added security guards. “I just think the panel up here should give him a chance,” Love said.
Later, when not at the podium, Osborn asked Wall how many police calls there had been to Z’s since November. Wall did not answer, saying that it was not an evidenciary hearing. When Osborn persisted, Wall said, “You’re out of order.”
The commission received clarification again that they could rescind the objection if the city is able to work with Z’s.
Wall added later that the city has also seen other issues, including the Public Works Department having to clean up trash outside of Z’s on the sidewalks and the parking lot.
The objection was approved by a majority vote, with Vogt voting against the motion.
In other news:
The commission heard three proclamations, first acknowledging Becky Cool, clerk of the commission, as part of Municipal Clerks Week.
The commission and Mayor Kazy Hinds then honored Officer Jeremy Weber as the Piqua Police Officer of the Year.
Hinds then read a proclamation in honor of Bike Month, which a dozen local cyclists, including members of Bike Piqua, accepted. Elizabeth Gutmann of Bike Piqua thanked the city for their support of bicycling, particularly bicycling infrastructure.
Larry E. Ealy, of Dayton, introduced himself as a Democratic candidate for governor during the announcement portion of the meeting.
Later, the commission approved retaining the services of the auditor of state for the 2017 annual audit of the City of Piqua. The cost of the audit is not to exceed $43,050.
They then approved a contract with Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio for the installation of gas facilities at 156 Robert M. Davis Parkway for the new Health and Sanitation facility. The cost of the contract is not to exceed $61,250.
Agreements with ODOT were also approved.
Reach Sam Wildow at email@example.com
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