The Press Newspaper
A local distiller is hoping to bring a new drinking experience to downtown Oak Harbor.
Joe Helle, representing Oak N Harbor Distillery, 136 W. Water St., asked village council on Monday for its support in his new endeavor.
Helle has secured the required federal permit for the business and is now waiting for a state liquor department inspection for the manufacture and sale of alcohol. That permit, should it be issued, will come before council in the near future.
“Really, my future is in your hands when that license comes across your desk,” said Helle, who attempted to quell any concerns about the business.
“This will be the first legal distillery in Oak Harbor. It’s not beer. It’s whiskey, vodka and bourbon,” said Helle. “We’re not a bar where you can sit down, get a beer and watch the game.”
Because of droughts, fires, and water shortages elsewhere, all we’ve heard for years is how someday the rustbelt Great Lakes cities will someday profit because of our access to fresh water.
Oregon City Administrator Mike Beazley says that promise took a big blow when the City of Toledo made national news because it had tainted drinking water for a weekend in early August.
That weekend, about 500,000 residents who receive City of Toledo water had reason to be alarmed because they were told not to drink their tap water. The Ohio EPA said the water was contaminated by a toxin called microcystin that is produced by an invasive algae bloom in Lake Erie.
While not all algae is harmful, the type seen in the huge blooms in the western part of Lake Erie and other inland Ohio lakes can produce nerve and liver toxins, which are especially dangerous for pets, children, the elderly and those with comprised immune systems.
Ignition interlocks for first time OVI?
Current Ohio law requires the use of the devices for repeat offenders wanting driving privileges but leaves it as an option for first-time offenders.
H.B. 469 would expand the use of ignition interlocks for first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or greater by also requiring them to use the devices when granted any type of driving privilege for the duration of a license suspension.
A zoning amendment that could help businesses step up downtown revitalization efforts in Oak Harbor has hit another stumbling block.
Village council in mid-September voted to reject the proposed Downtown Revitalization Overlay District and send it back to the planning commission for review. The changes, backers say, could one day pave the way for waterfront upgrades such as walkways, gazebos and perhaps even an amphitheater along the Portage River.
A proposed ordinance that would clarify when Special Use and Conditional Use permits could be approved by the the Oregon Plan Commission and city council is under review.
The proposal is in response to concerns by some on council earlier this year about the number of permits approved for used car lots and storage facilities on Woodville Road and Navarre Avenue. Council approved a temporary moratorium on issuing permits to car lots and storage facilities until the city could address the issue.
The proposed legislation would allow council to consider Special Use permits on a “case by case basis.”
“We are working through a few different permutations of the legislation,” City Administrator Mike Beazley said at a council meeting last month. “There’s a variety of ways to tackle the question about things like special uses for service stations, used car lots or outside storage and sales.”
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