Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Council discusses local business's flyers on windshields, sets trick or treat for 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31

By Holly Brucken
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Midway residents have complained about flyers from a local business on their car windshields, leading to a Midway City Council discussion about a possible new city ordinance if the situation creates a greater problem. 

Council Member Grayson Vandegrift, who operates a West Main Street restaurant, brought the issue to the council’s attention at its meeting Monday evening. “It’s unattractive to a lot of visitors,” he said. “It’s unattractive to a lot of residents.” He said no merchants had complained to him.

West Main Street on a busy day (file photo)
Helen Ringus, the owner of EquiTreasures, placed the flyers on the windshields of cars parked on West Main Street. She recently moved her store from West Main, where most of Midway’s shops are located, to behind Darlin’ Jean’s Apple Cobbler CafĂ©, invisible from Main, and said in an interview after the meeting that using flyers “is the only way I can get business.”

The issue was discussed by the council as a possible violation of the ordinance that requires business solicitors to be licensed, but Vandegrift said Ringus was unlikely to fall under this description. City Attorney Phil Moloney said the activity falls into “a gray area.” He said “It’s going to need to be tightened up somewhere,” particularly if residents are complaining.

Vandegrift said after the meeting that there haven’t been enough complaints to justify changing the ordinance or passing a new one. “If that starts happening, then the council will need a new ordinance,” he said. “What we can’t have happen is people doing it like crazy. . . .  It takes away from our quaintness and our charm a little bit.”

Ringus said in the interview that customers are grateful to be reminded of her store. “Women thank me for the cards,” she said. “Very few people complain.”

That will be the standard for future action, Vandegrift suggested: “If the vast majority of people are okay with it, then majority rules.”

Mayor Tom Bozarth commented on two races that brought traffic into Midway, the Iron Horse Half Marathon on Oct. 13 and the Bourbon Chase Oct. 18-19.

“This was the best event managed, as far as traffic, that we have had with the Bourbon Chase,” said Bozarth. “It looked to me like the restaurants were full.” He also said the Iron Horse Half Marathon, which had a record number of nearly 1,300 runners complete the race, went very well.

These events and the Midway Fall Festival in September may have led to a spike in visits to the meetmeinmidway.com website, on which Vandegrift reported.  The site had a 43 percent increase in total visits from August to September, and he said it was encouraging that the events calendar was the third most visited page on the site and real estate was the fifth most visited. Total page views were up 33 percent from August to September. According to Vandegrift’s report, more locals are using the site as well as visitors.

Among other items of business, the council designated the time for trick-or-treating as 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31.

The council heard first reading of an amendment to the alcohol beverage license fees ordinance, drafted to be consistent with a reclassification of alcohol licenses by the Kentucky General Assembly. The city is “just having to mirror the changes,” said Council Member Sharon Turner.

The ordinance adds three classifications of liquor licenses: historical sites, sampling sites and hotels.
Council members said after the meeting that they are not aware of any plans for a winery, distillery, brewery or a hotel in Midway, but “We’re hoping for a hotel,” Turner said.

Presentation of the city’s annual audit report, originally part of the agenda, was delayed until the next meeting.

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