Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 3, 2014

Liquor sales back on track in Grayson

GRAYSON — The process of issuing retail alcohol licenses for quota package stores in the City of Grayson appears to be back on track.

The Kentucky Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control and the city have come to terms on an agreed order intended to restart the issuance of licenses.

Under the terms of the order, all applications submitted for quota package store licenses have been officially approved on the local level and forwarded to the ABC office in Frankfort for final review.

The number of “quota” licenses is determined by the population of the city.

Another condition of the agreement is that the City of Grayson appoint a special ABC administrator to act as its representative in the matter of issuing quota package licenses.

To that effect, Mayor George Steele issued an executive order naming Morehead ABC Administrator Joe Parson to the temporary post.

The final condition of the agreement stipulates that Grayson City Council consider language outlined in Section 4.33 of its alcohol regulatory ordinance to determine if any language contained within is unconstitutional.

“The real thing that they are trying to deal with here is any language that could be interpreted as assuming powers specifically reserved for the state ABC board,” said attorney Michael Fox.

Fox has served as special counsel on behalf of the city government during the appeals process because City Attorney Reid Glass has functioned in his capacity as ABC administrator.

Section 4.33 provides the ABC administrator with certain guidelines regarding what the City Council finds “desirable” in terms of the issuance of licenses, but provides no concrete circumstances under which a license can be granted or denied.

Fox advised the City Council that, in his opinion, the language contained in Section 4.33 is not unconstitutional and that the city should not amend its current ordinance.

“At some point there has to be some teeth to the idea that local government gets to decide its own future,” said Fox.

Four applications have been forwarded to the state ABC board for review: Dionsys, Inc., Grayson Beverage Center, Rite Aid and Five o’clock Stop.

Frankfort officials were in Grayson on Friday to inspect all four properties, which is required before the issuance of licenses.

No timeline has been given as to when the state ABC board will make its final decision as to who will receive the two quota licenses, though all parties believe the decision will be made very soon.

JOE LEWIS is a reporter for The Journal-Times in Grayson. Reach him at jlewis@journal-times.com

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