COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus city leaders held a public hearing Tuesday to take action against businesses with a violent history, with these businesses facing the possibility of losing their liquor license.
Columbus’ liquor objection process is an annual process, and at the hearing, eight different establishments were discussed. Each location has a history of crime, overdoses, and liquor violations, according to the city.
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said he’s worked hard to get each of these businesses to improve and this is the last straw.
“We look at how violent an individual establishment is and you find yourself on this list because it could be a place where there are stabbings, shootings, fights, just a level of violence that is unacceptable for the City of Columbus,” he said.
Klein said he works closely with the Columbus Division of Police and Columbus Division of Fire to identify these businesses. He said his office then contacts the owners to tell them what they would need to fix in order to remain licensed. Then he continuously checks up on the progress.
“If the place is so dangerous where it is really unable to be resolved or if the owner is non-compliant and doesn’t want to work with us, then we have no choice then, really, to object,” Klein said.
The list includes:
- The Queen of Hearts Pub on East Livingston Avenue where a 30-year-old woman and 17-year-old girl were shot and killed in September.
- The Doll House Gentlemen's Club on Karl Court where five people were shot outside the bar in September.
- The Spotlight II Lounge in the Hilltop which the city has already filed a nuisance abatement case against.
“So, you rise right to the top of the list if you are starting to have murders at your establishments of course, but we look at all the calls for service,” said Columbus City Councilmember Emmanuel Remy. “Most of these have in the hundreds of calls for service every single year.”
The five other businesses are the Beechcroft Newsstand on Dublin Granville Road, Platform Lounge on Country Club Road, Speedway on East Broad Street, Mobile Mart on West Broad Street, and Julep on North High Street.
Remy, who is leading the hearing, said some business owners will show up to plead their case.
“Some will, some won’t,” he said. “I think it varies. There are typically people that understand the process and will try to fight to try and keep their businesses licenses.”
In the end, the safety of the city comes first, Remy said, and if revoking a liquor license will improve safety, they’ll do it.
“We are not trying to take businesses away, but if you cannot comply, if you cannot try to curb the incidents that are happening at your establishment, then you are going to get shut down in the City of Columbus,” Remy said.
Once the council makes its recommendations, which are expected by the end of the hearing Tuesday, those will be sent on to the state, which will have the final say.