September 2, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria Council moves forward on efforts to object to Vic’s liquor license

ELYRIA — City Council is wasting no time in its efforts to formally object to the renewal of the liquor license for Vic’s Nightclub and Mardi Gras Lounge, which is one permit held by Elyria businessman Dean Costa.

During Monday’s Community Development Committee meeting, Council members unanimously voted to object to the state automatically granting Costa’s renewal request for 2012 and requested the state Division of Liquor Control hold a hearing so city officials could voice their concerns before the state decides on the renewal. Councilman Garry Gibbs, R-3rd Ward, made the motion after hearing a lengthy report from police Officer Levy Lantz III, who said officers respond to Vic’s more than any other bar in the city.

The city has responded to Vic’s 34 times this year, including two gun-related incidents and a night when several people were stabbed inside the bar. Lantz said that number is high when considering Vic’s is only open Friday and Saturday nights.

It was enough to convince Councilwoman Donna Mitchell, D-6th Ward, that action must be taken by Council to end the message that enough is enough.

“We went after other bars with few calls. It stands to reason that the city has to object just because of the sheer number of calls the department answers,” she said.

Some of the major concerns the city has include the rowdy and near-riotous behavior of bar patrons, the hours of the bar that have since been extended to 4 a.m. and underage consumption. The afterhours complaints are some of the worst, Lantz said.

A quick look at his report at the request of Mitchell showed that most of the major calls came after 2:30 a.m., which is the customary closing time of a bar.

“We are getting people coming to the city from outside the city because it is being known that it’s a place where you can come after hours,” said Law Director Terry “Pete” Shilling.

In other news, City Council learned Monday that the master plan the city administration has referenced for years known as the 2015 plan was never actually adopted by Council, a blunder Mayor Bill Grace said he learned of when trying to apply for a grant for the East 49th Street bridge project.

The $30 million project, which includes removing the bridge and making Griswold Road and Midway Mall Boulevard an intersection, is still several years from fruition, but engineering and pre-construction details still need to be worked out and that is where the federal grant would come into play. But the federal government wants documentation of an adopted city master plan before accepting the city’s application.

Grace said that as far as he can tell, 11 Council members signed a Strategic Planning Committee report in February 2009 approving the adoption of the plan, but the matter never made it to full Council for an official vote. He said he believes a request for some of the language to be cleaned up stalled the process and it eventually was forgotten.

Community Development took the first step toward fixing the mistake Monday by voting to have full Council vote on the matter next Tuesday.

At that time, Council will also vote to accept the Cascade Park Area Redevelopment Plan, which lays out a blueprint for development in and around the park for the next 25 years.

Paid for with a grant from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and matching funds from the city Joint Economic Development District fund, the plan looks at the park and surrounding neighborhoods in three phases. While there is currently no money in the city budget to pay for the suggested improvements, which could total tens of millions of dollars in investment, Community Development and Planning Director Angie Byington said having the plan in place will allow Elyria to aggressively go after grant and funding sources when they become available.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.