Hookah bar hell

Hookah Star Hookah Bar

Hookah Hell on Wayne Avenue

When I went in to contest my property taxes on Monday, Aug 3rd, I pointed out that since 2009, my street has been disrupted by frequent police calls to 121 Bonner Street. They average about one safety force call every other week. Yet, my property values have almost doubled in 15 years- despite me making zero improvements to my house- other than to add security systems after frequent break-ins.

The people on the “Board of Revision” tried to tell me this had nothing to do with my property values. I asked them if they were crazy and continued. I pointed out that I’d been told by prospective tenants that they wouldn’t live that close to the neighborhood cancer.

They asked when I showed them actual sale prices of houses much larger than my cottages for much less, if I’d sell my cottages for what I said they were worth- and I said no, but, I’d have a hard time having an open house, because the potential buyers would be treated to what I have to deal with on a daily basis- open pit burning of things that don’t smell like wood, loud music, arguments, people, truck exhausts as they rev the engine, shirtless males, with foul mouths, the list goes on. I will say that they do take very good care of their grass, and the house doesn’t have garbage all around like the two shitholes catty corner at Bonner and Johnson, where we’ve known drugs were being sold. One of them recently had a chimney topple and fall through a first floor roof right into the kitchen. A quick roof patch job was the solution- after the hole was open for a few weeks!

The house next door couldn’t keep good tenants in it, and has been on the market for coming on 7 or 8 months. It’s been broken into many times, the air conditioner stolen, even with security systems.

And now we come to today’s news:

Dayton police are investigating after a man was shot outside a hookah bar on Wayne Avenue Sunday morning.

Officers were first dispatched to disperse a large crowd at the Hookah Star and Smoke Shop at 1243 Wayne Avenue around 3 a.m. Sunday.

Dayton police Sgt. Roberta Bailey said that while officers attempted to clear the crowd both inside and outside the bar, around five shots were heard by officers from behind the establishment. A signal ‘99’ for officer assistance was requested when the shots were heard, prompting a response from several surrounding jurisdictions in Montgomery County.

Source: Shooting victim found outside Dayton hookah bar

When I first moved into the neighborhood, this oddly newer building on Wayne, with the parking lot in front, breaking the consistent street rhythm of buildings lined up like soldiers in formation along the sidewalk. It was a Lawson’s store- a lot like a UDF, but with the addition of a real deli, where you could get sliced meats and cheeses. I used to shop there. It closed long ago, and hasn’t had a steady tenant for years despite the proliferation of convenience stores. Apparently, a convenience store that can’t be seen until you’re passing it isn’t in high demand.

Last year, a young guy whom the neighborhood has come to know as “Tiger” turned it into the “Hookah Star Smoke and Juice Bar” since it doesn’t have a liquor license. Looking at the refuse outside the bar every Sunday morning will tell you that there is plenty of alcohol being consumed inside- either poured from flasks or the bottles that are littering our streets each week. Apparently, since there is no liquor, closing time is flexible as well- with the party going on all night long, inside and outside this “fine establishment.” The crowd is young, with a lot of 18- to 24-year-olds, who like to peel out around the ‘hood with their tuner cars as they leave between 3 and 5 a.m. Not long ago, the owner discharged his own gun inside to give the patrons a good idea of who’s the boss.

Neighbors have been complaining all summer long about the joint. Tiger built a sturdy fence around the back of his lot- to keep the patrons who use it like an outdoor party park, from being seen and video taped by the residents of Historic South Park. The Eagles lot next door, the tire store, South Park Tavern’s lots- after they were closed, had become additional overflow parking for the party palace.

Lots of calls to the police, to zoning, to the city, with very little response, until finally a few weeks ago, when the cops starting showing up en masse at 3 a.m. to shut the place down- making our neighborhood into a racetrack for the little rats scurrying away from the scrutiny of the law. We had more traffic on our side streets at 3 a.m. than all day, thanks to Hookah Hell.

Dayton Police had heard rumors of some massive parties coming across the city as the summer was ending. Curfew sweeps were to begin, picking up kids under 18 out after 11 p.m. The Hookah bar was one of the targets. The kids get taken to the patrol headquarters, where residents staff the phones, calling parents to come pick up their wayward lieges. Last night was to be another night of residents pitching in to do work we pay taxes for.

The sweep happened at 11, and the Hookah bar was a stop. Then again at 3 a.m., the DPD did as it did last week, the cops came to close the place down. Last night, things didn’t go quite as planned as one of the patrons decided to get shot by another. Don’t say you didn’t see this coming.

Multiple police calls to the same location almost invariably are a good predictor of future troubles. Somehow, our understaffed police force, impotent prosecutors, and lackluster leadership can’t seem to figure this out.

It will be interesting to see if the Hookah Star Smoke shop and Juice Bar is back in business after this last incident, or if we’ll keep having problems until someone actually dies.

Why it takes so long for Dayton to figure out how to take care of neighborhood cancers is beyond comprehension. Maybe if they really understood that quality of life is the number one factor in “economic development” – not brick sidewalks, and occupancy rates, we’d actually make some progress that would justify the tax hikes they believe are warranted. Even for those of us who have to live with a cancer nearby.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!