Based on Ohio’s quota system to grant liquor permits, the City of Oxford has too many bars and liquor establishments with permits for wine, beer and liquor.
The Ohio Division of Liquor Control, a division of the Department of Commerce, is responsible for awarding liquor permits. One way the Ohio Division of Liquor Control awards liquor permits is based on population numbers from the U.S. Census, according to Alan Kyger, economic development director for the City of Oxford.
Based on Ohio’s liquor permit quota system, one permit can be issued for every 2,000 residents. Currently, 12 establishments have a D2 permit for wine and the quota allows for 11. Similarly, 12 establishments have a D5 permit for beer, wine and liquor and the quota allows for 11. Both the D2 and D5 permits are for serving alcohol at their location. A variety of businesses have these permits including Morning Sun CafÃ©, The Woods and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
“From 2000 to 2010, Oxford’s population shrunk,” Kyger said. “Oxford currently is over issued [on liquor permits].”
April 2010, Chipotle was granted a new liquor permit that put Oxford over quota. O’Pub, 10 W. Park Place, is the newest bar in Oxford and bought its liquor license from the Balcony, a bar that went out of business in 2009, according to Kyger.
Liquor licenses are also given if other qualifications are met, such as being a restaurant of a certain size. Kyger said that La PiÃ±ata and LaRosa’s Pizzaria obtained their permits with the restaurant exception.
Lyn Polan, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Commerce said that there are a number of ways to obtain a permit. Businesses can buy a liquor permit from a business that is no longer using it or they can apply for a number of exceptions.
“We have a variety of different permits that we issue in 58 different permit classes,” Polan said. “Some of those are limited in number by the Ohio revised code.”
Being over quota does not mean that liquor permits will be taken away from local businesses. However, no new liquor licenses will be granted based on the quota system, according to Kyger.
“I have a feeling that [the Ohio Division of Liquor Control] was projecting where our 2010 census numbers would be,” Kyger said. “They thought they would increase so they issued one or two additional permits. Then it turned out the population decreased.”
Polan said that permits can return to natural levels if a business hands in their permit or goes out of business.
“We would never take away or shutdown someone’s business,” Polan said.
First-year Lauren Dole said she likes the amount of bars available uptown.
“I think the amount of bars is fine,” Dole said. “There is a right amount of over 21 [bars] and people who can get into bars when they are under 21. There is a balance for people to have a good time.”