Fourteen votes was all that separated those for and against restaurant-only alcohol sales in Williamsburg, KY.
The vote was 533 yes to 519 no. Williamsburg is now considered "moist.” Those who witnessed the process said was basically a split decision. Even some of those who supported restaurant alcohol sales were surprised that it actually passed.
There are 2,987 registered voters in the town and 35 percent headed to the polls.
“I was very shocked,” said Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz.
Schwartz said there were no problems reported other than some county voters attempting to vote within city limits.
Whitley County Sheriff Colan Herrell said he was surprised at the outcome.
“This is the second one I have missed, I predicted London would go wet but I felt Williamsburg would stay dry,” said Harrell.
Restaurants that seat more than 100 people and have at least 70 percent of their sales coming from food have been given permission to sell liquor, wine and beer. Those who favored sales said they think it will benefit the economy.
“We are hoping it can bring some jobs to the area and restaurants that is the basic thing,” said
John Bowen of Citizens For Change.
Another member of the progressive group agreed.
“We got two restaurants coming in automatically they are promised and I am sure that some of the other restaurants are going to hire more staff,” Danny Davenport of Citizens For Change.
“We are the only place around here north or south that doesn't have alcohol, at least moist.”
Others said they were not happy with the outcome or it did not matter to them.
“It is a sad day I think, just a personal opinion,” said Schwartz.
Sheriff Harrell said he has never worked in a wet or moist area in his previous 40 years in law enforcement and he was not sure if it would affect patrols. He said law enforcement would be behind the people no matter what the outcome was.
“The people have spoken. this is what the people of williamsburg want, and this is what they will have,” said Harrell.
The courthouse precinct had 101 yes votes to 78 no votes. The Savoy precinct had 14 yes votes and 5 no votes. The College Hill precinct had 166 yes votes and 196 no votes. The College Hill precinct was the only one where the "no" votes triumphed. The City School precinct had 48 yes to 40 no votes. The Depot Armory precinct reported 59 yes votes to 56 no votes and the Highland Park precinct had 134 yes votes to 121 no votes.
Overall, just over one dozen people made the difference.