Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Question of Sunday alcohol sales in Midway likely to be discussed tonight at Fiscal Court meeting

By Meg Quigley
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Woodford County Fiscal Court will meet at 7 tonight and the hot topic may be one that is not on the agenda.

Last week, the Versailles City Council declined to amend the city’s ordinance to allow sales of alcoholic beverages in restaurants on Sundays. Three restaurants in Versailles and five in Midway have asked for Sunday sales; Versailles makes some of its own alcohol rules but Midway’s are governed by Fiscal Court.

The Versailles measure failed when Mayor Fred Siegelman broke a tie vote on the council. He told The Woodford Sun that he had received more than 100 calls about the issue, and “I don’t think it’s necessarily the right time to do this.”

Siegelman’s thoughts were much different from Midway restaurant owners. Mark Wombles, owner of Heirloom, said the small-town mentality leaves no room for forward thinking. “It’s time that Kentucky got on the same social scene as the rest of the United States,” he said.

Heirloom has been in business for almost three years and because the restaurant only seats 58, it is only allowed to serve beer and wine. Under Kentucky law, no restaurant that seats fewer than 100 people can serve hard liquor. “Being able to sell alcohol on Sundays would put us on a more level playing field,” said Wombles.

Laura Wolfrom, owner of Bistro La Belle, didn’t stray too far from Wombles’ arguments. “What if a holiday happens to fall on a Sunday? We just want the option to be open and able to sell alcohol,” said Wolfrom. She said Midway is much different than Lexington. “I mean, there is no one here after midnight.”

Wolfrom said she wants the opportunity to compete, especially with the 2010 World Equestrian Games just around the corner. “We need to be able to compete with Lexington and Frankfort when the games start,” she said. The council in Georgetown, the same distance from Midway as the other two cities, is debating Sunday alcohol and is scheduled to decide the issue next month.

Midway’s population of 1,620 makes it a fifth-class city, which prohibits its city council from making its own decision on the issue. That leaves it up to Fiscal Court, which was waiting to see what Versailles did. At tonight’s Fiscal Court meeting at the courthouse, the issue is not on the agenda but is likely to be discussed, County Judge-Executive John Coyle said.

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