What happens after that will closely mirror the process that applicants went through last year in placing their bids to get the available quota licenses. Those interested will need to place advertisements in the Commonwealth Journal indicating an intent to seek a license. There will likely be a 30-day window in which those who submitted applications previously and any new ones that wish to do so will subject to comments from the public. The state will then get with local ABC and city officials to make a determination regarding which applications will be approved.
Girdler said that the city has remained in contact “continually” with all the previous applicants that “we think would have a better economic impact” then some of the smaller-volume stores that were awarded licenses by the state, meaning those stores are likely to be in the hunt once again this go-round.
Nailing down the potential for more licenses is important for a city like Somerset which stands to grow significantly in the future, according to Girdler.
“This sets the stage for the next 10 to 20 years,” said Girdler of the quota determination process, meaning what Somerset gets number-wise will likely be what the city is allowed for the decades to come. “We want to make certain to make the case that Somerset needed several more (licenses). It has a potential to grow over that time frame, plus the lake is going up, plus the urban area is really around 35,000 people.”
The state based Somerset’s quota license number on the population of the City of Somerset, a hair under 12,000 as of the 2010 census. Yet the town serves as the commercial hub for all of Pulaski County, which is over five times that number in population, as well as surrounding counties and summer tourists, meaning the market that Somerset serves is significantly greater than the population recognized by the state in making their previous quota decision last January.