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Restaurants in Lebanon may be able to sell alcohol by the drink on Sundays in a matter of weeks.
Monday evening, the Lebanon City Council voted 4-2 to approve the second reading of a Sunday sales ordinance. Council members Denise Fogle, Dennis George, Bill Pickerill and Darin Spalding voted in favor of the ordinance. Council members Elizabeth Ann Osbourne and Jim Richardson voted against it.
Now, the ordinance must be published officially before it becomes law. Mayor Gary Crenshaw indicated that the ordinance will be published in the Dec. 31 edition of the Enterprise.
Before a restaurant can serve alcohol on Sunday, however, it must receive licenses from both the city and the state.
As written, the ordinance would allow restaurants to serve alcohol by the drink between noon and 10 p.m. on Sundays if those restaurants receive 50 percent of their income from food sales and meet the requirements of KRS 242.185(3). That subsection of the Kentucky Revised Statues requires restaurants to have dining facilities for at least 100 people.
Private clubs are eligible to sell alcohol by the drink if they are a non-profit organization with at least 200 members, have indoor dining capacity for at least 100 people and have existed for at least two years prior to applying for a license.
Lebanon City Attorney Kandice Engle-Gray said the Lebanon Country Club is the only private club she is aware of that might meet those requirements.
If New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday, the ordinance would allow licensed businesses to sell alcoholic drinks from noon until 1 a.m. Monday morning.
Prior to the vote, Mimi Crum said she is concerned about the message the ordinance sends to the youth of the community.
"I'm already concerned about some of the attitudes our young people have about drinking," she said. "And I just don't want them to get the impression that the way to expand tourism in our community is through alcohol."
Elmer George, who advocated for the ordinance at a prior city council meeting, restated his belief that Sunday sales would benefit the community and local restaurants.
"I think it's a sign of progress," he said. "I think it's something we need to do."
Councilman Richardson said he thought the public should vote on whether or not the city would allow Sunday sales. Councilman George asked Engle-Gray if that was necessary. Before she could answer, Elmer George said that fourth-class cities (like Lebanon) have the authority to make that decision on their own.
"You have the power as the city council to make that decision yourselves," she said.
Editor's note: Look for more on the city council's Dec. 22 special meeting in the Dec. 31 edition. This article was prepared with the assistance of a recording by Patty May Brown of 100.9 WLSK.