Anti-alcohol sales group holds meeting in Williamsburg

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Attorney Paul Croley submitted a petition with 200 signatures to sell alcoholic beverages at restaurants in Williamsburg. Certain people who live in the city said they do not see a benefit from selling booze or beer at eateries in their city.

The main speaker of the event, Don Cole, of the Kentucky League on Alcohol and Gambling Problems said that the number of signatures needed was reflected by the amount of people who voted in the last general election. In order to submit the petition, 271 signatures or 25 percent of that total number of voters was needed.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about how this would benefit our city,” said Co-Chair Gerald Mullins.

The petition would allow people to buy alcohol by the drink in restaurants that seat 100 or more. Their business must also be 70 percent driven by food sales.

When the petition was submitted on Jan. 18, residents were interviewed who said they were not opposed.

“The county and the city could use the tax money that would come from that and that would be jobs,” said Evelyn McCullah.

Locals said that there are only a couple of restaurants that would qualify and they are not buying the economic stimulus argument.

Mullins said that there is a small town just south of the town on I-75 in Tennessee.

“They have had alcohol sales for a number of years, but they have never been able to have a large restaurant locate there,” said Mullins.

Mullins said he believes that restaurant chains such as Red Lobsters or Olive Gardens still would not want to come to the city even if it were moist.

Those opposed to the vote say it will just cause problems

“More people would be drinking, more people would be driving drunk and more people would be susceptible to accidents,” said David Aker, who lives in Williamsburg.

Aker said that he and others are afraid of the ripple effect

“Insurance premiums go up, social services needs go up, policing goes up,” said Aker.
“It's really a loss for society generally.”

“I don't belive that it's gonna make a difference as far as D.U.I.'s and problems in the city,” said McCullah.

Mullins noted that a nearby town which is currently moist now has a petition for packaged sales and he thinks it would become a slippery slope.

“They currently have a petition for packaged sales in Corbin and generally it leads to that,” said Mullins.

Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz confirmed that the petition was submitted and the vote will be held on March 20.


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