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Chamber seeks liquor-by-drink referendums

PULASKI COUNTY — With “overwhelming” successes in Cloyd and Draper districts in 2005 and 2007, the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce feels it is time to get the whole county “on the same footing” when it comes to liquor by the drink.
Spencer Rygas, past president of the chamber, said getting liquor by the drink enacted countywide would equalize the economic development potentials for all five county districts. The liquor-by-the-drink law allows restaurants and other approved businesses to sell mixed alcoholic beverages.
Liquor-by-the-drink referendums were passed in Cloyd District in 2005 and Draper District in 2007. In both cases, the referendums were passed by more than 70 percent of voters in each district.
“One of the biggest questions we get is why we didn’t do the whole county last time (in the November 2007 election),” Rygas said.
First of all, he pointed out that once Cloyd District was passed separately, that meant all four other districts had to be on separate referendums. Plus, last November, the chamber was focusing on the area that was most likely to benefit from liquor by the drink.
Draper District encompasses the area along Route 100 east of the Town of Dublin, near Interstate 81.
Pulaski Alliance for a Changing Economy (PACE) initiated the collection of signatures for the 2005 Cloyd District referendum. Then, the chamber took over to get placed on the ballot.
Since that time, the chamber has overseen the process.
Now, the chamber wants to petition the courts for liquor-by-the-drink referendums in the remaining three districts, Robinson, Massie and Ingles, this November.
In order to do so, the petitioners must collect signatures of 10 percent of the registered voters in each district.
Portions of Massie and Robinson districts already have liquor by the drink by virtue of the fact each of those districts include portions of the Town of Pulaski.
In those districts, voters who live within the town limits will be excluded when considering the number of signatures required for a referendum.
The Town of Pulaski has had liquor-by-the-drink options since the early- to mid-1980s, according to Town Manager John Hawley.
Soon, petitions will be circulated in the Robinson, Massie and Ingles districts, Rygas said. The chamber is in the process of recruiting people to carry the petitions throughout the districts. Petitions also will be placed at various businesses, but those locations are yet to be selected.
Rygas noted that the petitioners and businesses must live or be located within the district where the referendum is being sought.
For example, a petitioner collecting signatures in Robinson District must live in Robinson District, just as a business collecting signatures in Robinson, must be located in that district and the person overseeing the petition must be from that district.
Petitioners also must be registered voters and they must witness each signature that is collected on the petitions. Also, only signatures of registered voters in each respective district will be counted toward the 10 percent requirement. Signatures of Town of Pulaski residents also must be excluded from the count.
The deadline for submitting the petitions is in early September. Rygas said the chamber hasn’t petitioned to seek liquor by the drink in the Town of Dublin, but they haven’t excluded the possibility.
He said he is not aware of any restaurants presently wishing to locate in any of the districts in question, but the chamber would like to see the whole county on the same footing because “you never know where a restaurant might want to locate.”

Chamber seeks liquor-by-drink referendums

PULASKI COUNTY — With “overwhelming” successes in Cloyd and Draper districts in 2005 and 2007, the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce feels it is time to get the whole county “on the same footing” when it comes to liquor by the drink.
Spencer Rygas, past president of the chamber, said getting liquor by the drink enacted countywide would equalize the economic development potentials for all five county districts. The liquor-by-the-drink law allows restaurants and other approved businesses to sell mixed alcoholic beverages.
Liquor-by-the-drink referendums were passed in Cloyd District in 2005 and Draper District in 2007. In both cases, the referendums were passed by more than 70 percent of voters in each district.
“One of the biggest questions we get is why we didn’t do the whole county last time (in the November 2007 election),” Rygas said.
First of all, he pointed out that once Cloyd District was passed separately, that meant all four other districts had to be on separate referendums. Plus, last November, the chamber was focusing on the area that was most likely to benefit from liquor by the drink.
Draper District encompasses the area along Route 100 east of the Town of Dublin, near Interstate 81.
Pulaski Alliance for a Changing Economy (PACE) initiated the collection of signatures for the 2005 Cloyd District referendum. Then, the chamber took over to get placed on the ballot.
Since that time, the chamber has overseen the process.
Now, the chamber wants to petition the courts for liquor-by-the-drink referendums in the remaining three districts, Robinson, Massie and Ingles, this November.
In order to do so, the petitioners must collect signatures of 10 percent of the registered voters in each district.
Portions of Massie and Robinson districts already have liquor by the drink by virtue of the fact each of those districts include portions of the Town of Pulaski.
In those districts, voters who live within the town limits will be excluded when considering the number of signatures required for a referendum.
The Town of Pulaski has had liquor-by-the-drink options since the early- to mid-1980s, according to Town Manager John Hawley.
Soon, petitions will be circulated in the Robinson, Massie and Ingles districts, Rygas said. The chamber is in the process of recruiting people to carry the petitions throughout the districts. Petitions also will be placed at various businesses, but those locations are yet to be selected.
Rygas noted that the petitioners and businesses must live or be located within the district where the referendum is being sought.
For example, a petitioner collecting signatures in Robinson District must live in Robinson District, just as a business collecting signatures in Robinson, must be located in that district and the person overseeing the petition must be from that district.
Petitioners also must be registered voters and they must witness each signature that is collected on the petitions. Also, only signatures of registered voters in each respective district will be counted toward the 10 percent requirement. Signatures of Town of Pulaski residents also must be excluded from the count.
The deadline for submitting the petitions is in early September. Rygas said the chamber hasn’t petitioned to seek liquor by the drink in the Town of Dublin, but they haven’t excluded the possibility.
He said he is not aware of any restaurants presently wishing to locate in any of the districts in question, but the chamber would like to see the whole county on the same footing because “you never know where a restaurant might want to locate.”