New liquor permit regulations will help Warren businesses
By Marc Kovac
The Ohio House passed legislation Wednesday that would allow certain Warren businesses to obtain a special type of liquor permit.
Senate Bill 298 passed on a vote of 85-2 and will head to Gov. John Kasich for his signature, pending Senate concurrence on changes made in the House.
Under existing state law, “D-5L” liquor permits, allowing the “sale of beer and intoxicating liquor for on- and off-premises consumption,” are issued to restaurants and retailers in revitalization districts that meet a number of qualifications, including being located in a county with a population of 125,000 or fewer residents and deriving 75 percent of their income from nonalcohol service.
SB 298 expands the population requirement to cover the city of Warren.
Sen. Capri Cafaro, a Democrat from Liberty and primary sponsor of the bill, told the Ohio Senate late last month that the legislation is “a critical component to continued small business growth within the city limits,” citing examples of two businesses that moved off of Courthouse Square because they were unable to obtain liquor permits.
“It is not just for adding bars,” Rep. Tom Letson, a Democrat from the city, added during Wednesday’s floor discussion of the bill.
“It has to do with banquet facilities and restaurants, so it’s the larger part of an entertainment district and not just the service of alcohol,” he said.