Commonwealth Journal

Local News

January 31, 2013

Somerset challenging liquor license quotas

Four of five approved by state not to receive licenses from city -- yet


Somerset —

“I don’t understand why (Apple’s would be denied) if we met the criteria,” she said. “The city listed all the economic impact (standards) and the ones that passed muster were passed on to the state to make a decision. Everyone was asked to submit a second impact report to the state. We did that. It’s not fair if we did everything that we were supposed to do that we would be delayed.”
John Burkhalter, Walgreens manager, said that his store would be “ready to roll” with alcohol sales once the situation is sorted out.
“We’ve done all we can,” said Burkhalter. “We’re just waiting on (ABC personnel).”
Girdler has stated that state ABC personnel apparently ignored the interests of Somerset and didn’t spend sufficient time discussing the city’s needs with local officials. Liquor World owner Wesley Morgan also told the Commonwealth Journal earlier this month that the state’s denial of his application may have to do with a lawsuit he filed against Kentucky ABC regarding licensing practices in nearby Corbin, Ky.
Girdler said that last week, a governor’s task force issued a report recommending changes in alcohol laws, but that Somerset needs solutions soon.
“These issues have been around for decades and nobody’s dealt with them,” he said. “...We can’t wait one or two more years for the General Assembly to resolve these problems.”
The statement from Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney said that Somerset’s “primary motivation in filing the complaint is to maximize the potential investment, development, and economic activity that follow permitting the sale of alcoholic beverages,” and notes that Somerset is a “commercial hub” for a four-county region that enhances economic impact, along with the tourism factor.
“The City of Somerset alleges that the licensing irregularities by the state ABC will deprive the City of substantial economic investment and development opportunities stemming from alcoholic beverage sales,” reads the statement. 

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