Bourbon

As Frankfort considers an ordinance that would ease restrictions on open alcoholic containers downtown during designated hours, city commissioners have approved a request that would allow for more package stores per capita in the city.

The commission voted unanimously Monday to file a request with the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) for an increase in “quota licenses” within the city limits for businesses to sell bottled liquor and bottled wine. 

Mayor Bill May said the impetus for the action on “quota licenses” stemmed from a shortage in the business community. He said that the recently opened Goodwood Brewing on Main Street beat Kroger to applying for the last license available. Without adding more licenses, May said, the city and one of its major grocers would have been negatively impacted.

“They were second in line, and this would have prevented Kroger from — without this change, they would have had problems,” May said.

City Manager Keith Parker said ABC computes the license allotments based on population size, allowing Frankfort to have about 16 package store licenses. However, cities can request ABC to allow more licenses per capita if the city can justify the increase.

“It gives you a greater number,” Parker said. “So we expect about six more if this is approved.”

Parker said the city will have to include retail sales figures, population numbers and other factors in its application. He said the number of distilleries and breweries in Frankfort would be a factor as well as the tourism that comes with them.

Commissioner Scott Tippett took the opportunity of the discussion to ask whether city officials have concluded a 30-day comment period the commission approved at the beginning of July for an Entertainment Destination Center (EDC), which would ease restrictions on open alcohol containers on downtown streets during designated hours. Parker said that the 30-day comment period has yet to open because city officials “wanted to make sure they got that right.”

“We’re still working on submitting that. We have not put that on the street…,” Parker said. “We were trying to define what you all see on the map we’re trying to put out. Once we get that out and get confirmation, we’ll put that out on the streets.”

The commission expressed approval of the plans for an EDC after hearing an outpouring of support from downtown businesses at a meeting in July. Under the plan, the city would seek a permit from the state for such a district, which would allow open containers on streets and sidewalks. The commission would set rules on when and where the EDC would apply. While commissioners expressed approval of an EDC, they emphasized the importance of public comment in the 30-day window to get a full picture of the community's sentiment on the subject.

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