Oregon City Council on Monday agreed not to request a hearing from the Division of Liquor Control regarding a request for a liquor permit for a proposed carryout on Navarre Avenue, though some had questions about the type of permit being sought.
Faizah Ahmed Sayed, CEO of Gateway Food & Fuel, requested the permit.
Sayed, of Maumee, is proposing to build a carryout at 2460 Navarre Avenue, where there currently is an office building. The site is on the south side of Navarre.
Oregon Police Chief Mike Navarre and the city’s tax department did not object to the request for the liquor permit.
Administrator Mike Beazley said Sayed’s intent is to build a new fuel mart just east of the I-280 exit where the chamber of commerce is currently located.
Council members Jerry Peach and Sandy Bihn raised questions about the type of permit Sayed was requesting.
Sayed is asking for a D1 and D2 type of license, which is for restaurants/nightclubs. D1 permits beer only for on premises consumption or in original sealed containers for carryout until 1 a.m., and D2 allows wine and mixed beverages for on premises consumption or in original sealed containers for carryout until 1 a.m.
The appropriate permit for retail store carryout is C1 and C2. C1 allows beer only in original sealed containers for carryout, and C2 permits wine and mixed beverages in sealed containers for carryout.
“It’s not entirely clear,” said Peach. “Part of the problem is the new permit request for D1 and D2 classification, which would normally be for not only sealed containers being carried out but also would allow on-premises consumption.”
Navarre said the police department did an investigation, contacted Sayed and the Division of Liquor Control, and learned that if the carryout is built, certain requirements will have to be met.
Sayed has a carryout near the High Level Bridge, said Navarre.
“He wanted a C permit, which is the permit you would get for a carryout, but none was available in this area. So he applied for a D permit, which is what you would receive for consumption on the premise. The only requirement, and the folks at the Division of Liquor Control confirmed this for us, is when he constructs the building, he has to have a men’s and women’s restroom that is accessible to the public, and he has to have a table with two chairs. He has to comply with the requirements of having a D permit and he intends to do that. If he doesn’t do that, he will be in violation and we can move to have his permit revoked. So in order to get the business going, he applied for the D permit. He’s had to do things he doesn’t necessarily want to do when he constructs the building, but he’s willing to do that to comply with the requirements of the D permit,” said Navarre.
City Law Director Paul Goldberg said the owner may just want to hold onto the permit or sell it in the future.
“At some point, they’ll determine what they want to do,” said Goldberg.
“In reviewing the application and applicable code, I have not found a basis for council objecting to it,” said Peach. “It’s the state of Ohio’s decision. And the circumstance may be what Goldberg has described.”
Bihn said the permit should fit with the use of the building.
“This just sounds like circumvention of the system to me,” said Bihn. “If the permits are to be available, and there’s only a certain number of them, then we’re allowing that number to be exceeded by going this route. This seems like the cart before the horse.”
Mayor Mike Seferian said Bihn’s concerns are not enough to call for a hearing.
“The C permit is a subset of the D permit. So [Sayed] wouldn’t be using all the opportunities of the D permit. But the critical point is, if you look at the reasons that this body could file for a hearing, that’s not one of them. It’s a very specific list in which you can file for a hearing and actually defend. I’m sure he’s not going to allow consumption on the premises.”
“Sure,” said Bihn, “but you have to have a table and two chairs and a gas station that’s selling alcohol. You don’t have a table and two chairs. I’m sorry. You just don’t do that. We’re playing with the system, the end justifies the means to try and get around the system that doesn’t have a license that he really wants.”
“He’s not going to let anyone consume alcohol on the premises. It’s just one of the things he has to do to fulfill the needs of the permit,” said Seferian.
Jim Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning, told The Press this week that the Planning Commission would eventually vote on the conditional use of the carryout, if Sayed goes through with his plans, but the matter would not have to go before council for further approval.