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Heat Nightclub permitted to sell liquor

By Steven Matthews - Staff Writer

Heat Nightclub in Huber Heights will be allowed to continue serving liquor, despite the city’s year-long efforts to keep it from doing so.

Huber Heights city officials were notified Monday that the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas upheld the decision of the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, which ruled in favor of the nightclub’s liquor license renewal. The Liquor Control Commission is a three-person panel that hears appeals of decisions by the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, among other responsibilities.

“I’m terribly, terribly disappointed,” Huber Heights Mayor Ron Fisher said. “I just really don’t see how any rational person can listen to police officers, city officials and residents, and the defendant had little to no comments, and they win. It makes no sense to me.”

City officials have said the club has been the subject of excessive police calls and subsequent disturbances ever since it opened in 2010. Manager Jessica Kennedy, however, has said her club has been unfairly scrutinized by the police.

Heat Nightclub, 6115 Brandt Pike, has had liquor operating privileges since Dec. 12 when the commission reversed the Division of Liquor Control’s denial of the club’s liquor license renewal and transfer of its liquor permit application. The club did not have operating privileges Nov. 1 through Dec. 11.

Heat Nightclub typically is open Friday through Sunday nights, Kennedy said. The club also has been hosting non-alcoholic events for teenagers, she said.

“We are pleased to be able to continue operating,” Kennedy said. “We’re happy with the decision. It’s unfortunate that we were not welcomed by the city of Huber…But we will move forward. Hopefully, we can now work with the city in making things better.”

Mike Bly, a member of the city’s legal counsel, said Huber Heights has not decided yet if it will file an appeal with the Franklin County Court of Appeals. May 3 is the deadline. The city also could object to the nightclub’s liquor license renewal the next time it comes up, he said.

“When there’s an establishment in your community that’s a detriment to the community’s health, safety and welfare, there’s an obligation to pursue it as aggressively as possible to eliminate it,” Bly said. “The decision by the court is disappointing to us.”

In December 2012, the state’s Liquor Control Commission reversed the Division of Liquor Control’s order.

Huber Heights then filed two appeals in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas after the commission ruled in favor of the club. Bly said the city expects a decision on the application transfer in the next four-to-six weeks.

Huber Heights police have received 217 calls related to the nightclub since April 1, 2012, according to the department. Those calls include extra patrol, traffic stops, noise complaints, drugs and assault.

City officials originally objected to the club’s liquor license renewal in March 2012.

At a hearing on July 31, the Division of Liquor Control rejected the club’s liquor license renewal and transfer of its permit application, effective Oct. 24. The nightclub appealed the division’s decision with the Liquor Control Commission.

The city filed a pair of objections with the Liquor Control Commission on Nov. 2 and Nov. 6 requesting that Heat Nightclub not be permitted to sell alcohol. On Nov. 9, the Liquor Control Commission denied the club’s request to continue operating with a liquor license during the appeal process.

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