Members of sought to exert some control over potential new liquor permits coming into the city Wednesday by adopting some strict guidelines to a state liquor license transfer process known as "trexing."
In March 2012, state legislators changed an existing process that allowed the transfer of liquor permits from community to community in Ohio to eliminate the state quota restriction, which essentially caps the number of liquor licenses allowed in a city based on its population.
Kent Law Director Jim Silver said two formal applications have already been filed to make what's known as a "Trex" liquor license transfer from one community into Kent.
According to state law, such a transfer could be made with the approval of just one city official.
Kent Safety Director William Lillich said city administrators wanted to develop guidelines before any such transfers took place so that approval of a trex transfer would require approval from council rather than just one public official, such as the mayor, as suggested by state law.
"We recommend that it be the public body that we’ve elected," he said.
The guidelines for approval council adopted in committee Wednesday include:
- The entity wanting to bring the trex license transfer into the city must invest a minimum $750,000 in the physical structure (or) building that will hold the license
- The building (or) structure that will hold the license must have a minimum of 4,000 square feet of dining space
- Alcohol sales cannot account for more than 25 percent of total retail sales at the establishment
- Council most review and approve or disapprove all trex transfers
Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said city staff included in their recommendations a clause that council has the ability to amend the guidelines for special projects.
"We’re saying we’ve got enough small bars," he said. "We certainly could welcome a nice restaurant."
Kent already has coming to new restaurants in the downtown redevelopment district. Council will cast a final vote on the trex guidelines later this month.
The new permits would still be managed by the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control.
"We know the pretty tight market here in Kent for liquor licenses, and there’s communities that have surplus licenses," Ruller said. "We’re sort of anticipating getting a bunch of requests for this. We thought we should get out in front of this."