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Relocation of bar in Ironton has some residents up in arms

A local bar’s plans to move into another part of town has reaped some disapproval from local residents.

Saturday, February 16, 2002

A local bar’s plans to move into another part of town has reaped some disapproval from local residents.

The J.A.B. Lounge, which is currently located on Park Avenue in Ironton, is planning to move to the 1400 block of South Third Street. This move, some residents feel, will bring bad things to their community.

Jamie Gee, a resident of 1426 S. Second St., said that she is afraid that a bar in the neighborhood would place residents, which she said are primarily children and senior citizens, at a risk for violence.

"We’re all outside in the summer" Gee said, "cooking and having barbecues…what affect will a bar have in the community?" she asked council.

She said a bar would cause problems in the community, including the risk for fighting, which would expose the neighborhood children to violence.

Her husband, Scott, said that in addition to the potential of fights, the bar could also become a noise nuisance.

"Come on and feel the noise, doesn’t feel so good at three in the morning," Scott Gee said.

He added that he doesn’t want his son to see people acting in a lewd manner outside of the bar, something Scott said he has seen driving around the city and passing other bars.

J.A.B. employee Rinalee Howard said that she understood the concerns of the neighborhood, but the bar employees "work well" with the Ironton Police Department and employees will work out any issues residents have with the bar.

Bar owner Joyce Ann Bradford said she has ran the bar since 1993 and the move is an effort to improve her business. She said by moving and purchasing her own building, she is able to "better myself and my business."

Bradford added, "I don’t know what the hassle is…I’ve never had a state or city violation."

She added that she will work to control what happens inside the bar, but didn’t address the neighbor’s concerns about things that could happen outside the bar.

"What happens on the sidewalk is not my problem," Bradford said.

Both the neighbors and the Bradford met at Ironton City Council last night to discuss the issue. Council elected to contact the state’s Division of Liquor Control to conduct a public hearing.

Council president Jesse Roberts, who was unable to attend the meeting due to a family emergency, said that the state agency controls the liquor license, not the city council. Roberts said the neighborhood is zoned as commercial property and that the city charter expressly prohibits council from spot zoning and changing the area to a residential zone.