DeWine: No Vote On Liquor Issue Would Invalidate Existing Licenses

Mike DeWine's office says if the liquor issue is voted down, that vote would invalidate existing liquor licenses in the proposed entertainment district.(Photo: Joseph A. (Flickr))
Mike DeWine's office says if the liquor issue is voted down, that vote would invalidate existing liquor licenses in the proposed entertainment district.(Photo: Joseph A. (Flickr))

Sometimes, when properties are being developed, they will be designated as community entertainment districts. That allows everything that could be developed within that district to be zoned “wet” for purposes of selling beer and alcohol.

But Dan Tierney with the Ohio Attorney General says there could be a downside to existing businesses if a city tries to develop a community entertainment district in an area that already includes businesses with liquor permits.

“The way the law is written, when a community education district is established, all of the votes to allow liquor at premises are valid until the vote takes place for the entire community entertainment district. And then that vote would supercede all of the votes that have been done on the site level.”

“So if the vote were to pass, there would still be the allowance of spirituous liquor to be sold at those locations.”

If it were to fail, it would, in fact, supercede the previous votes and there would be no beer or spirituous liquor allowed to be sold anywhere within the community entertainment district.

The attorney general’s opinion on the issue was sought after Upper Arlington residents voted to make part of the community’s downtown area a entertainment district. Businesses within that district that currently serve alcohol expressed concern that an upcoming vote could make the entire area dry.

There’s no word yet on whether the city will keep the issue on the ballot now that the attorney general has issued this opinion.

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