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City Expects More Liquor License Transfer Requests

Numerous business entities have contacted city officials about trex liquor license transfers

Kent City Council can expect to see more requests from bar and restaurant owners for liquor license transfers — as early as next month.

At least 10 different businesses or partnerships have inquired with city administrators about  Ohio's "Trex" liquor license transfer, a state-approved process that allows for the transfer of a liquor license from one community to another.

"They are out there," Kent Law Director Jim Silver said. "They want to come in to town. I don’t think you’ll have a problem finding people who want to come in to Kent and sell alcohol."

In Ohio, the number of liquor permits allowed per community is limited based on its population. In Kent, all of the available liquor licenses are owned or in use.

Kent has some strict regulations that must be met before council will sign off on trex transfers, yet council members granted a variance last week to three men looking to open Twisted Root Cellars, a wine and beer bar, at 181 E. Main St. inside the Kent Stage building.

Last fall, two women approached the city with plans to open a restaurant at 154 N. DePeyster St. and ask for a trex transfer. So far, that formal request has not been made.

And as early as next month Ron Burbick, the developer of Acorn Alley and the man behind the restoration of Acorn Corner, is likely to ask the city for a trex transfer for a wine bar proposed for the basement of Acorn Corner.

Kent's population of about 29,000, according to the 2010 Census, caps the number of full service, or D5i, liquor licenses to 15.

But the city created five more D5i liquor licenses when it established an entertainment district within the new redevelopment block downtown. And Laziza also was able to obtain a D5i liquor license, so the city has 21 total D5i, or full-service, liquor licenses.

That number doesn't include liquor license that are limited in hours or days of service and to beer and wine or carry-out only.

During talks about the Twisted Root Cellars several members of council expressed a desire to limit the number of new bars opening in the city.

Councilman Wayne Wilson said the city's initial talks about setting criteria to allow trex transfers centered around the concept of a restaurant being able to sell some alcohol during meals — not to allow bar-only type businesses.

"My firm belief is that we have too many bars in this town already," Wilson said.

Trans Plant April 09, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Mr. Wilson, You may be right about Kent having "too many bars... already" but how about we let economic forces of supply/demand work in this situation and let the money to set-up, stock, and run these new establishments come into our community. Will Kent be able to support two new wine bars? Probably not, but the best one will survive, giving consumers a choice, Kent a better product, and allowing some entrepreneurs to chase a dream/idea. Thank you, Citizens against arbitrary limits
Teresa K. April 09, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Re: " Kent has some strict regulations that must be met before council will sign off on trex transfers, yet " Kent might have strict regulations of the books but those are for OTHER people. Not who they want to come on in and set up business. I guess the wine place was permitted cuz... wine isn't really hard liquor, right? Wine imbibers are highly intellectual and drink responsibly . They don't cause any disturbances and apparently don't need a whole lotta room either.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 09, 2013 at 03:20 PM
HaHaHaHaHa! Great, Teresa.
Dave Mail April 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM
If you are going to grant a number of variances to the requirements, then you need to look at the requirements and the original reason for putting them in place in the first place.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! April 10, 2013 at 01:55 PM
"I don’t think you’ll have a problem finding people who want to come in to Kent and sell alcohol." How about something more useful? We're all eagerly anticipating a good grocer in this town. Anytime will do.
Sa;;y April 10, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Teresa: Your comments are right on. It's all selective. And didn't you know..... drinking wine isn't the same as drinking beer and liquor. Of course, smoking pot isn't the same either. "They call me mellow yellow."
Sa;;y April 10, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Hmmmmm..... maybe Kent can legalize pot and start selling licenses for "pot bars". Now there's a money maker.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 10, 2013 at 11:18 PM
There is no space downtown for the type of grocery store with sufficient parking that people have come to expect. I'm talking about having a bakery, cosmetics, pharmacy, deli, & etc. The Acme is almost in town and would be if council hadn't refused to annex that part of the township in the 70's because Grant's sign did not conform to our sign ordinance. Signophobia is nothing new to Kent! I don't know how people can afford to feed their family at the prices the Acme and Giant Eagle charge. We have a wonderful small grocery that stocks pretty much all the grocery necessities a person needs at about half the cost ot the big stores. It is Save-A-Lot in the University Plaza at the corner of South Water and Cherry Street. If you think you can't possibly survive without brand name everything, don't go there, but I challenge you to tell the difference between Heinz Ketchup and Kurtz Ketchup. Not a huge selection of produce but everything is fresh and good. Try it. You WILL save about half. Bag your own groceries. It won't hurt you. You can do it. Just say, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." When you get done, say, "I thought I could! I thought I could! I thought I could!" The little engine will then have nothing on you! Time to get drunk and go naked. Bye!
Fred Pierre April 11, 2013 at 04:31 AM
There is a full-service grocery on Main Street. In terms of bars, we have a lot of them, and a lot of related policing costs. The city says that an owner needs to spend $750,000 on a bar before they will license it - I think that's meant to weed out seedy, dive bars. We'll see who asks for the next variance.
James Thomas April 11, 2013 at 11:54 AM
So, what's stopping you from opening up a grocery store?
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! April 11, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Ignorant reply Nolan. Ever watch Bambi?
James Thomas April 12, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Nolan=Cyberbrownshirt, and If Patch doesn't get this then they have no Journalistic Integrity.
James Thomas April 12, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Hey, I'm glad I don't know Nolan and I'm happy that he doesn't know me because he has threatened violence, and I have the e-mails to prove it.

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