“We’re doing this to protect the City of Somerset and the citizen in the process,” said Girdler. “We’ve sent a letter (to Kentucky ABC) indicating the actions we’ve taken but providing an open invitation to resolve this.”
One action the city has taken is to not approve licenses for four of the five applicants that the state approved — Rite-Aid, Walgreens, Apple’s Wine and Spirits, and First Stop Party Supply and Package Store.
Only Wildcat Beer, Wine, and Spirits, Inc. — set to be located on South U.S. 27 in the area near Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital — will receive their license from the city promptly, as Girdler said that it was one of the applicants that met the city’s own economic impact criteria.
“Since they had a state license, and under normal circumstances a local license, I decided to go ahead and give them one,” said Girdler, “but the other (state selections) don’t meet the criteria in comparison.”
Girdler hopes for the city to eventually be able to distribute all of those licenses that the state approved once the city gets what it wants — which is approval for more and bigger liquor stores.
“We want to work with all the applicants and work with the ABC,” said Girdler. “Regulations state that we can issue our own standards or ordinance as long as it is not less stringent than the state’s. We think that since the General Assembly gave cities that power to set local rules, the intent of the General Assembly is to let local people as much as possible make local decisions that affect local lives and well-being instead of letting some bureaucratic agency do it.”
How the applicants that the state approved but the city denied will handle the situation remains to be seen. Apple’s owner Wanda Johnson said that her store has already ordered equipment and other items, and employees have quit other jobs to come work there. A delay in the process could have a negative impact on the business.