The attorney, Scott Schooler of Forbes, Fields & Associates, also will try to mediate the situation with city officials directly as owner David Caver said he would prefer that over another hearing with a state agency. Caver said the Toy Box wants to continue talking with city officials in hopes that a decision will be made by the city to withdrawal the objection to the bar having a license.
The Toy Box has until Jan. 26 to formally appeal the ruling as well as seek an order of stay from the Liquor Control Commission to allow alcohol sales to take place during the appeal process. City Law Director Terry “Pete” Shillings has previously said the city would object to such an order.
Caver said Schooler was hired because by law he had to have an attorney file the appeal with the Liquor Control Commission.
“But I don’t want it to seem like we are fighting the city,” he said. “Actually, it’s the exact opposite. We are working with the city, and I feel as if we have been working with the Police Department all along.”
Caver said ideally his case will go the same way the objections the city had against the New Image Sports Bar and T&A Bar went in 2010. After talks with bar owners and improvements by bar owners to clean up the establishments to police liking, City Council removed their objections to both locations having their liquor permits renewed.
However, unlike the Toy Box, which went through the hearing process, the objections for both the T&A bar and New Image Sports Bar were removed prior to a hearing. It is unsure at this time if the time for working things out locally has passed.
“We are going forward with our part of the process,” police Chief Duane Whitely said.
But Whitely said the Police Department is willing to work with Caver and then could approach City Council with a request to drop the city’s objection.
“I’ll just say the Elyria Police Department operates with an idea of cooperation first,” he said.
Caver said he has already improved lighting both inside and outside the club, put up surveillance cameras, increased bar security, began using wand metal detectors to screen for weapons and increased the age restriction from 18 years of age for patrons to 21 years of age. He said he is also addressed what he saw as the No. 1 problem in the bar back in the summer time when it was one of the busiest clubs in the area: overcrowding.
“I would be the first to admit that was a problem, but we have corrected that and have since learned what our occupancy limit is and are staying within those means,” Caver said.
He is willing to look into doing whatever else the police deem necessary for the sake of his business.
“This is our livelihood,” he said of the 12 employees that work at the Toy Box. “I just don’t believe the city is looking to take away anyone’s livelihood. We would love to save our jobs.”
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.