Hammond asks judge to bar fireworks stand from operating

2013-06-19T20:30:00Z 2013-06-20T10:44:04Z Hammond asks judge to bar fireworks stand from operatingChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | The city is asking a judge to bar a fireworks stand from operating in South Hammond following confirmation the stand is selling goods despite lacking a business license, court records show.

The stand at the southeast corner of 175th Street and Calumet Avenue drew complaints from residents and city officials around the Fourth of July last year because of loud noise and actions of “provocatively clad” women promoting the business, according to a request for a preliminary injunction filed last week in Lake Circuit Court.

One neighbor told the board, "They had bullhorns, they had air horns, they set off fireworks all night."

Those concerns prompted the Hammond Board of Public Works and Safety in July to rule the stand was a nuisance and not issue a license to the owners of 7509 and 7517 Calumet Ave. The stand's owners then sued the city in Lake Circuit Court to review the board's decision.

A call to an attorney representing the stand's operators was not returned Wednesday.

A Hammond police officer bought fireworks at the stand June 11, and the next day noticed a neon-lit “open” sign in the store window, court records state.

“Plaintiffs have violated, and continue to violate the law,” according to the city's filing. “Absent abatement, their business operations constitute an immediate and irreparable harm to the city through violation of its ordinances.”

In May, the board upheld its denial of a business license for a tobacco store wanting to operate at the same corner of Calumet Avenue and 175th Street. The denial was made over concerns the business would lead to the comeback of the fireworks stand.

The board found Exit One Tobacco Inc.'s lease  for 7509 Calumet Ave. had a provision allowing the operation of a fireworks store from May to July of each year. The fireworks store would have been occupied by Ghassan Odtallah — the same operator of the stand when the business license was denied in July.

Odtallah previously told the board he just worked at the stand and his brother owned the business.

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