Eminence approves liquor by the drink

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By Matt Goldman

Staff writer and photographer

After a second reading, the Eminence City Council, in a five-to-one decision, voted Tuesday evening to amend the city’s alcohol ordinance to include liquor by the drink sales.

Restaurants within the city limits that have a seating capacity of 100 or more, or any hotels, motels or inns with at least 50 beds, will be able to serve liquor by the drink to their customers with the amendment.

Council member Drane Stephens, who cast the lone vote against the amendment, suggested the council hold off on a decision until the city became home to businesses that were affected by the ordinance.

“Since we don’t have any businesses that apply to this ordinance, I think we should table,” Stephens said. However, the city is home to one business that could be affected by the ordinance — the Kentucky Renaissance Festival — according to Eminence City Clerk Sandra Doane

Stephens’ suggestion was subsequently overruled after Richard Thomas made a motion to approve the amendment, which was quickly seconded and followed by the five to one vote.

The vote for the amendment came as an anticlimactic end to a topic that has been the subject of much deliberation and controversy.

Kentucky Renaissance Festival Chairman Ed Frederick initially approached the council at the October meeting saying the festival’s expansion plans include holding corporate events for which liquor sales and a catering license would be a key component. At that meeting, Frederick said the Festival’s three to five year plan also includes the construction of a 15-room hotel with a restaurant attached.

At the November meeting the council tabled any further discussion of the amendment as council member George Armstrong III was not in attendance. They did however listen to number of concerned residents who made their cases against serving liquor by the drink. Eminence resident Kay Bennett asked that the council vote no on the new ordinance as it did not guarantee economic growth — only that it “could” create economic growth. Bennett added that if Eminence must rely on the sale of liquor by the drink for revenue “something is wrong.”

In other business:

• The council held a second reading of the revised occupational/net profit ordinance which was then passed in a five to one vote.

• The council held a second reading of the garbage disposal franchise ordinance which was passed unanimously.

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