Tempe hookah lounge owner requests relief - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Tempe hookah lounge owner requests relief

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Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 6:32 pm | Updated: 8:45 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Like smoke lingering in the air, the owner of a Tempe hookah lounge is still hanging around in the hope he can keep his business running.

Anis Ben Harzallah goes before the City Council tonight, requesting a change of heart on allowing customers to takes pulls on water pipes at HB Tobacco, 53 E. Broadway Road.

The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.

It's been two months since the council voted unanimously against allowing Harzallah to modify the business' use permit, which currently allows the sale of tobacco - but not the smoking of tobacco.

He had admitted allowing smoking there after opening in early 2007.

According to a legal document filed with the city by Harzallah's attorneys, patrons should be allowed to smoke hookah because the city had never before distinguished between tobacco retailers and lounges like HB Tobacco.

The motion also states that Harzallah understood the permit's ban on smoking to apply only to cigarettes and cigars.

It appears that Harzallah is looking into an alternative if relief isn't found tonight.

Two weeks ago, Harzallah went before a city hearing officer in search of a use permit for a hookah lounge at 1400 S. McClintock Drive.

Harzallah found his business in trouble earlier this year after a neighborhood association complained.

A hearing officer and the Development Review Commission agreed that Harzallah's mistakes were minor enough that he deserved an amended permit.

But the council disagreed.

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