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

(Continued)

Somerset —

It also states that according to Kentucky Administrative Regulations, one liquor package license is available for every 2,300 residents in counties containing second- to fourth-class cities — which would mean Pulaski County could conceivably qualify for a quota of 28 licenses.
“While the same regulation sets forth that more restrictive individual quotas may be set for smaller political subdivisions within a county, no individual license quota had been issued as of the filing of the complaint on January 30,” reads the statement. “Nevertheless, in letters from Dehner to nine otherwise qualified liquor package license applicants dated January 9, 2013, Dehner rejected their applications citing a quota of five available retail liquor package licenses in Somerset — all five of which had already been issued by Dehner.
“Further, the complaint alleges that Dehner’s notices to the recipients of the licenses were premature and preempted by Somerset’s statutory authority,” reads the statement, which points out that Somerset’s own city ordinance allows for city administrator’s approval to be necessary for an applicant’s license to be eligible. “Dehner issued five liquor package licenses in the City of Somerset before any were selected by City Administrator Nick Bradley.”
The complaint also states that the applicants selected by the state were “concentrated along one segment of the U.S. Highway 27 corridor, while the applicants selected by ... Bradley proposed locations stretching across the city to align with Somerset’s objective to best serve the region and its tourism industry.”
Girdler is hoping for court action to be resolved “very quickly,” since the city is just asking the judge to determine the rights of each party right now, and that everything possible will be done in a time frame of 30 days “to either expedite negotiations with the ABC or get a quick decision from the circuit judge,” he said.
“We want to be ready for tourist season,” he added. “We’ve got to get things issued so (applicants) can do repairs and renovations for the tourists coming in May.”

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