Monday, July 15, 2019

Council hears plan for 'entertainment destination center' with relaxed drink-carrying rules; donates to Homeplace

Midway could have an "entertainment destination center" with relaxed rules for consumption of alcoholic beverages in a limited area, under a proposal offered to the City Council Monday evening.

The council deferred action on the idea, but took action on other matters, giving The Homeplace at Midway $5,000 to help buy a bus for residents and adopting a resolution supporting communication about land-use planning among local governments in the Bluegrass region.

Alcohol: About a year ago, the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board enacted a regulation allowing cities to buy a license for an entertainment destination center, in which customers of private licensees can go in and out of their licensed premises with alcoholic beverages as long as they stay within the center's boundaries.

The licenses had previously been available only to businesses, but are slowly being bought by cities for a fee of $2,800. Versailles recently passed the necessary ordinance for one, and Frankfort is working on one, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said.

The rationale for the license is to reduce the enforcement load on police and ABC agents, and help localities promote tourism and economic growth, said ABC Agent Ian Thurman, the husband of City Council Member Stacy Thurman. She asked him what the city's obligations would be as licensee.

He said the city would be liable for anything in the common area, inside the boundary and outside the privately licensed premises, that was not directly tied to a business, including someone with a beverage from that business.

Council Member Logan Nance asked about the possibility of drinkers being "overserved." Thurman said that has not been a problem in the two cities that have entertainment destination center licenses, Maysville and Owensboro. He said police and licensees say "It's one thing off the plate, about people walking in and out, that they don't have to worry about, and thus can focus more on over-service.

Cortney Neikirk of the Midway Business Association said allowing customers to go in and out of restaurants with alcoholic beverages "is a huge deal for all the restaurants." She said they work together to spot drunks who should be denied service.

Vandegrift asked the council to consider the proposal and put it on the agenda for the next meeting, on Aug. 5. He said he favored a provision in the Versailles ordinance, which requires beverages taken into the common area to be in a standard size and color plastic cup, for safety reasons. Neikirk said she was sure the restaurants would agree to that.

Other business: Business association coordinator Elisha Holt asked the council to pay half the cost of overtime for two police officers who would provide security and traffic help during the Midway Fall Festival. Vandegrift said "It makes perfect sense to help out with this," but the council deferred a decision to the next meeting.

The council adopted the regional planning resolution after a presentation from Rob Rumpke of Bluegrass Tomorrow, which he said is focused on protecting farmland and advocates growth along major transportation corridors. The resolution supports continuation and expansion of the Regional Land Use Partnership that has been meeting regularly since November 2017 to improve communication among governments and planners in the 18-county region.

"We're trying to build some consensus and partnership in the region" for better communication, Rumpke said. "It is in no way about creating a regional planning commission."

The resolution, supporting documents and other materials for the meeting, including a photo of the bus The Homeplace wants to buy, are downloadable as a PDF here.

The Homeplace bus would cost $25,000 and would hold 12 passengers and two wheelchairs. Representatives of the nursing and assisted-living facility said they had raised $8,000. Mary Lynn Spalding, president and CEO of Christian Care Communities, which operates the 48-bed facility, said the bus they want to buy is eight years old.

"I am 100 percent behind this idea," Vandegrift said. "I want to see a City of Midway sticker on that bus." He said the Homeplace generated more than $32,000 in occupational tax for the city last year, "and this is a one-time purchase." He noted that the newly adopted budget allocates $5,00 for donations. Council Member John Holloway moved to give that amount, and Council Member Bruce Southworth seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

The council also approved an encroachment permit for Tru Blue Hemp Co. to locate in Midway Station. "They're kind of the middlemen for the farmers and the oil processors," Vandegrift said.

Vandegrift reported that he and Southworth plant to meet with Frankfort Plant Board officials next week to discuss building a pipeline that would make FPB the city's primary water supplier, as the mayor announced recently that he wanted the city to do.

He also announced that the sidewalk project is scheduled to begin Wednesday, weather permitting, and take about two weeks. When it is done, he said, "eleven new sidewalks" will replace broken ones, "including the worst of all," which he didn't specify.

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