Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Petition and legislation seek liquor, wine by drink

Two efforts are under way to make it easier to get liquor and wine by the drink in Midway: a bill to relax the seating requirements for restaurants in state law, and a petition for an election to generally authorize sales by the drink.

House Bill 241, sponsored by state Rep. Carl Rollins, left, D-Midway, would reduce to 50 from 100 the number of seats a restaurant must have to get a drink license in a city of the fourth class, which Midway became last year. The measure would make drink licenses possible for some restaurants that do not qualify because they are not large enough. The bill was introduced Jan. 11 and has not been posted for hearing in the House Licensing and Occupations Committee. To read the bill, click here.

Midway restaurants licensed to sell liquor by the drink are the Grey Goose, the Holly Hill Inn and 815 Prime. Those are also licensed for Sunday drink sales, along with Heirloom and Darlin' Jeans Apple Cobbler Cafe.

On another front, a petition was filed Dec. 19 for a local-option election that would generally authorize sale of liquor and wine by the drink, without regard to the nature of the business or the number of seats, but with a limit on the number of licenses. County Attorney Alan George told the county Fiscal Court this week that the petition fails to include the word "sale," which could make it or a resulting election invalid.

The initial ruling on the petition is up to County Judge-Executive John Coyle, who would schedule the election for March 13 if he considers the petition valid, George said this afternoon. Local-option elections cannot be held in conjunction with any other election and must be scheduled within 90 days of the filing of the petition. The county would have to pay the cost of holding the election.

George said Steve Humphries, general counsel for the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, told him that Midway's population would qualify it for only one retail drink license, but the board would probably grant two licenses because it does not like to create local monopolies.

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