Sunday alcohol sales OK'd: Crowd divided in its opinions

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By The Staff

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - Seven spoke in favor and six were opposed.

    But all spoke with passion Monday night as speakers tried to influence Shepherdsville City Council members who would vote on whether to allow the sale of alcohol by the drink on Sunday.

    At the end of the hour-long discussion, the Shepherdsville City Council voted 4-2 to allow Sunday sales in establishments with 100 seats and has an average of 70 percent annually in food sales.

    Bret Simon, who moved his family to Shepherdsville two years ago, was surprised the issue was still being discussed in the year 2010.

    “We need to do it today,” Simon said of passing the Sunday sales.

    With a 16-year-old son, Simon said the youngsters of the community need jobs and restaurants provide that type of employment.

    “These kids need these jobs,” said Simon.

    The Heritage Hills resident said he loves the Mexican food at Cabo Cantina but he would like the opportunity to have a beverage on Sunday at the restaurant.

    Bill Barnes owns two businesses in Shepherdsville and believes it is important to expand the sales to Sunday.

    From a religious standpoint, Barnes said the Sabbath was a day in which unnecessary work should be avoided. He said it didn’t discuss Christ not being able to drink wine.

    From a business standpoint, Barnes said he couldn’t recall having a problem at his Best Western restaurant from someone drinking alcohol.

    David Brimm, who works on Sundays for Barnes at the Best Western, said he kept a count over the past year.

    He estimated that on Sundays, the hotel lost 59 room nights due to the lack of alcohol sales. He estimated that to be over $4,000 in revenue and over $200 in taxes.

    In addition, he said people are not pleased when they can’t go to a local restaurant and get a drink. Some of those people said they would not return the next time.

    Steve Larimore asked city leaders to focus on taking Shepherdsville forward.

    Part of that is providing jobs in the community for the youth so they don’t have to go to Louisville.

    To become a better city, Larimore said the leaders must move it forward. He didn’t believe someone having a drink with a meal on Sunday would lead to more DUIs and petty crime.

    “If they want to drink to excess, they don’t do it in restaurants,” said Larimore.

    Jose Cubero said personal responsibility has to be discussed in the situation.

    He didn’t believe Sunday sales would create bad situations for the city.

    “The bigger issue is how are we going to grow in the next 5, 10, 20 years,” said Cubero, who is running for city council.

    Developer Jim Rice asked that the city put the businesses on an even playing field with other communities.

    In trying to land restaurants to the community, Rice said Sunday sales is a part of providing that equal playing field.

    Since Heritage Hill received permission to sell alcohol on Sundays, Rice said he wasn’t aware of any problems.

    LouAnn Moore, representing the Chamber of Commerce, was joined by Troy Beam, executive director of the Shepherdsville-Bullitt County Tourist Commission, and Bob Fouts, executive director of the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority, said each of the organizations passed resolutions in favor of Sunday sales.

    All three said it could provide positive impact on local businesses.

    John Bradshaw took an active role in trying to stop the sale of alcohol on Sunday.

    Developing a website, Bradshaw said over 400 signatures were collected. His goal was to raise the awareness of the people on the issue, especially after only 323 voted in the mock election.

    Even with the Sunday sales, no one could guarantee more restaurants would be brought to the city, said Bradshaw.

    He questioned who would enforce the 70 percent food sales portion of the ordinance.

    Domestic situations rise when alcohol and drugs are involved, according to Bradshaw.

    “You will be held accountable,” Bradshaw told councilmembers who vote in favor of the ordinance.

    Thomas Huff Sr. has had a business in the city for 29 years and he is proud of the accomplishments made by the city council.

    But that growth has been accomplished without Sunday alcohol sales. He was concerned that any added taxes generated by the extra day of sales could be offset by added police costs.

    In addition, Huff said there is no need for adult entertainment in the city.

    The Rev. Randy Pace, pastor of Family Worship Center, reflected upon a 2004 newspaper article that stated that restaurants don’t come to a community based on the Sunday sales of alcohol.

    “We already have too many bars,” said Pace.

    Duane Price said the council has a responsibility to protect the citizens.

    Over the years, Shepherdsville has seen a lot of growth over the years without Sunday sales, said Price.

    No matter what they say, Price said it would increase the number of DUIs in the city.

    “When my business is slacking, I turn to the Lord,” said Price.

    Constable Charlie Wright said, “We don’t need this.”

    During his time as a constable, Wright said he has arrested 168 people on DUIs and another 79 for alcohol intoxication.

    “We don’t need this,” said Wright. “We just don’t need it to grow.”