A federal judge yesterday sided with a group of carry-out owners and ruled that the city of Toledo cannot begin enforcing its new convenience store licensing law.
U.S. District Judge James Carr said the city could not until July 1 enforce the law, which applies to convenience stores smaller than 5,000 square feet selling food and beverages and requires them to be licensed at a cost of $250 a year. The law also requires owners to install security cameras and imposes a $100 a day fine for those who do not comply.
Some owners claim a requirement to hand over surveillance video to police within eight hours is an unreasonable search and seizure.
Scott Ciolek, of the Toledo law firm Ciolek
& Wicklund, said Toledo police began enforcing the law this week by delivering a letter from the chief of police stating that if the stores failed to submit the applications for the license, the store owners would be subject to 30 days in jail.
"Our position is that they have begun enforcing it by sending out that letter," Mr. Ciolek said.
The motion for the emergency injunction was a response to the letter, he said.
Nabil Shaheen, owner of Nabil's Quick Stop, 5409 Dorr St., said the letter was harassment and intimidation.
"We are not here against the city," Mr. Shaheen said. "There are a few bad stores, but close them down. Don't do it to everyone in the city."
Mr. Shaheen said his customers are treated like family and stores like his serve neighborhoods that large supermarkets ignore.
"If they have money to put cameras on traffic lights, let them put cameras outside to watch for crime," he said. "Why should I play police?"
Police Chief Mike Navarre said his community service officers delivered the notices after only 25 percent of the carry-outs registered for the law when it officially went into effect May 1.
"There was no intent to intimidate. That could not be further from the truth," Chief Navarre said.
He said police were not planning to enforce the law, in part because it may be altered.
City officials in favor of the law promoted it as a tool to control crime, loitering, littering, and underage sales.
A hearing regarding the injunction is scheduled for June 20.