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Liquor license change clerical matter

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A state website listing details of liquor license applications raised questions in the community as Greenhouse Restaurant LLC was making plans to change the former Scotty’s Burger Joint in The Commons to a Detour American Grille and Bar.

Some Republic readers, callers and commenters on the noted that the database listing the restaurant-bar’s license renewal on the state website seemed to indicate that Greenhouse Restaurant LLC was issued a liquor license for the Detour restaurant on Nov. 13, more than two months before the company proposed to city officials that it be allowed to change its restaurant name.

However, while the company did receive a liquor license renewal in November, at the time the license reflected that it was still doing business as Scotty’s Burger Joint. Detour American Grille and Bar wasn’t added as the “doing business as” name on the license until Jan. 3, when the company requested the change. That was 11 days before Greenhouse reopened the restaurant under a new name.

A “doing business as” name change on a state-issued liquor license is largely a formality and requires no state or local approval, said Doug Devine, the Bartholomew County license processor for the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

As long as the underlying corporation remains the same, the state has no concern with what name the company is doing business as. The only cost associated with a “doing business as” name change is if the company wants a printed copy of the new license with the new name, then it is charged a $10 printing fee.

Greenhouse Restaurant applied for the name change Jan. 3, and the next day an attorney for Greenhouse picked up the company’s revised liquor license, Devine said.

Columbus has a quota of 30 three-way restaurant liquor licenses citywide. Those licenses allow beer, alcohol and liquor sales, and all of those licenses have been issued, Devine said. However, the city has designated a riverfront district, which allows 10 more liquor licenses above and beyond the state quota, he said.

Heather Pope, redevelopment director for the city, said the city has issued five of its 10 three-way riverfront licenses, including the one for Greenhouse Restaurant. The riverfront applications are reviewed by the Columbus Redevelopment Commission, then the mayor makes a recommendation for approval by the state. No one has applied for the remaining five licenses available in the riverfront district.

The applicant then submits its application to the state.

Devine said the state checks for three things on a riverfront license application — an aerial view of the property, a letter stating that the area is deemed a riverfront development and the recommendation letter. After receiving the documentation, those requests are reviewed at the state level and then sent to a state board made up of local county residents to hold a hearing.

David Mann, chairman of the Bartholomew County Alcoholic Beverage Commission, said the Greenhouse Restaurant annual renewal came before his board in November as Scotty’s Burger Joint and was recommended for approval. He said his board has limited reasons it can recommend denial for renewal, including a restaurant that has become a public nuisance or where criminal activity is taking place.

Detour American Grille opened

Jan. 14 at 310 Washington St. in The Commons, the spot formerly occupied by Scotty’s Burger Joint.

Greenhouse first applied for the three-way license in June 2011, Devine said. That is the the same month the city and Greenhouse signed the lease for the space in The Commons.

The company first received its three-way riverfront alcohol license Sept. 6, 2011. The current two-year license will expire Sept. 7, Devine said. Companies must pay an annual renewal fee of $1,000.

City Attorney Kelly Benjamin said that she had no immediate knowledge of any provisions in Columbus city ordinances that would give the city an ability to revisit the liquor license over a change to the “doing business as” name.

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