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Published: Wednesday, 11/20/2002

Market denied permit for beer

Toledo City Council voted 12-0 last night to object to the issuance of a beer permit for a North Toledo food market, but the permit applicant never knew the issue was on council's agenda.

Sukhdev Singh Khalsa, who operates Singh Food Mart at 750 East Central Ave., said yesterday he thought the neighborhood would welcome a beer carryout at the corner of Stickney Avenue and East Central.

“I need the beer [permit], because many people walk in every day asking for beer,” Mr. Singh Khalsa said. He said 15 to 20 people daily walk in and ask for beer, then walk back out.

Council's resolution asks the state Department of Liquor Control to hold a hearing on the application because Woodward High School and a church are within 500 feet of the station.

The application generated uniform opposition at a council committee meeting Monday from neighborhood groups who oppose the sale of alcohol across East Central from Woodward High.

Mr. Singh Khalsa said he did not know council had scheduled a hearing Monday to consider the resolution, or that it was on council's agenda last night. Michael Beazley, clerk of council, said the notice of the hearing was addressed to Herbie Howard at the location of the business.

In a complicated arrangement, Mr. Singh Khalsa leases the store operation in the American Petroleum Retail gas station at Stickney and Central. The property is owned by the four sons of Mr. Howard, a Toledo businessman.

The Howard brothers also own American Petroleum Retail and hold the license to dispense gasoline at that location, while Mr. Singh Khalsa runs the station. Mr. Howard said he is a consultant to the business, known as Four Howards.

Mr. Singh Khalsa said that he is in the process of buying the property from the Howards.

Mr. Howard said he was aware of the hearing but forgot about it. He said he does not support the Singh Food Mart's application for a beer license.

He told council two years ago when he applied for a special-use permit to open the gas station that American Petroleum didn't intend to sell alcohol at the site. However, he said he could not promise that a leasee of the property would not make such an application.

Mr. Howard conceded that American Petroleum could have inserted language in the lease prohibiting Mr. Singh Khalsa from beer sales on its property, but chose not to because it did not want to “violate his rights” as a businessman.

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