Commonwealth Journal

January 29, 2013

Somerset City Council tables entertainment permit applications

By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

Officials are taking a second look at the city’s current entertainment ordinance — something that has seen little daylight until voters approved a “wet” Somerset — to see if it aligns with current alcohol regulations.
Somerset City Council was slated to discuss entertainment permits for three local businesses. J. Gumbo’s, which also operates the Captain’s Lounge bar, and two businesses listed by address only — 4505 S. U.S. 27 and 311 W. Mt. Vernon Street — were on Monday’s agenda. 
“Those were entertainment permits and we ... since the city council passed the ABC ordinance and the implem-entation of that, the enter-tainment ordinance con-flicts greatly with the ABC ordinance,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler.
The council has dealt with a flood of issues related to the city’s newly “wet” status and the establishment of regulations that align with Kentucky Department for Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and city ordinances. 
But the entertainment permits are a new creature. 
 “I think this is the first time one of them has come up since the ABC ordinances, so we’ve realized now that we’ve got to update,” said Somerset City Attorney Carrie Wiese during the meeting.
Wiese,while pulling the city’s entertainment permit, discovered that the newest document had been amended in 1988. After some research on Tuesday, she discovered that the city’s entertainment permit ordinance had been taken word-for-word from state statute, which has been largely unchanged since the 1950s and 1960s.
Girdler said the permit even states that businesses shall not let a person of “ill-repute” or an “immoral person” on the premises.
“The enforcement of the entertainment permit ... is probably impossible,” Girdler said.
The Captain’s Lounge, operating out of the J. Gumbo’s restaurant on Fountain Square, is the only operating bar of those three requesting an entertainment permit. A comparison of those addresses listed on the council agenda matches up with a venue called “Boots and Booze,” located at the 4505 S. U.S. 27 address. A business located at Vortex Corner, or 311 W. Mt. Vernon Street, has two names connected to that address: “Paws,” and “The Pub.”
The Captain’s Lounge is part of a restaurant, and restaurants are exempt from the entertainment ordinance. 
Wiese said the city’s detailed ABC ordinances, along with the state’s own regulations, enforces certain issues that otherwise may be found in an entertainment permit. Noise level, activities outside the venue, and more are all regulated already through the ABC laws. 
Wiese and Councilor Jim Rutherford, who volunteered his services considering his background in law enforcement as a former Somerset Police Department officer, will review the entertainment ordinance before it goes back in front of city council.
“The council needs to tell us what’s an entertainment permit, and what should be allowed or not allowed,” said Girdler. 
In other news from Monday’s Somerset City Council meeting:
• The council voted on the second reading of Ordinance 13-01, which is an intent to annex out East Ky. 80 to Fire Tower Road, which branches off of Barnesburg. The city limits currently extend to the first intersection of East Ky. 80 and Barnesburg as you travel eastward. 
East Way Market is located at the intersection of East Ky. 80 and Fire Tower Road. 
The council had struck down the request for annexation before. This most recent request passed another hurdle with the council, with all but three councilors voting “yes” to the ordinance. Councilors Rutherford, John Ricky Minton, and Jim Mitchell voted “no.”
The ordinance will now go before the state for approval, and two additional readings of the ordinance — the next step after “intent to annex” has been approved —  will go back before the city within the next 60 days or so. 
• Councilor Mike New reminded those on the city’s garbage pick-up service that large items such as couches and chairs are not eligible for pick-up except on special days.New suggested that customers call ahead to determine what may be done about the items. 
• New also asked whether plans were in the makings to re-examine the city’s current building ordinances. New had brought up giving the current ordinance “some teeth” in a past council meeting. Mayor Girdler said the issue would be covered in an upcoming work session that will be open to the public.