A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Covington: Sunday liquor sales approved, golf carts shot down, parking authority idea moves forward

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By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

Bottoms up, Covington residents. “By the drink” sales have been approved.

Commissioners passed a new ordinance Tuesday night which will allow the sale of distilled liquor, wine and malt beverages “by the drink” beginning at 9 a.m. on Sundays.

After discussing the issue for the last three weeks, commissioners again questioned whether some liquor stores would be able to obtain the new license.

But after talking with city staffers, the commissioners were comforted when they learned that package liquor stores could only obtain a new “by the drink” license by purchasing one from an establishment that already has one (due to a limited number of licenses distributed by the state, which has already reached a maximum). That would require the establishment to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 for the license, plus annual fees of up to $2,200.

The spirit of the ordinance, Commissioner Tim Downing said, was to allow certain local establishments to offer alcohol for brunch to compete with restaurants across the river.

Photo by Ryan Clark, NKyTribune

And, if a business was “not being neighborly,” as Commissioner Bill Wells put it, the organization’s license could always be revoked. That seemed to be the defining point, which caused the commission to pass the ordinance, 4-0, with Mayor Joe Meyer absent. He is out of the country.

While liquor was voted to be okay Tuesday, golf carts were not.

Commissioners voted 4-0 (with Mayor Meyer absent) in favor of a golf cart regulation ordinance amendment. In August, UPS notified the city that the company would be using golf carts, or other small vehicles, to deliver packages to some areas.

It then became the responsibility of the commission to decide whether or not those vehicles would be legal – and they had a 60-day window to do so. Due to concerns over safety, theft and possible zoning problems, the commission decided to ban the vehicles, with the thought of revisiting the issue.

“We want to prohibit it on the front end because there is a ticking clock,” City Manager David Johnston said.

The board has said they may reconsider the ordinance in the future.

Commissioners also moved forward with a proposal to study the feasibility of a Parking Authority for the city.

“One of the limiting factors in our city due to dense development is parking,” City Manager Johnston said. He said this plan could help alleviate that problem, providing parking for residents, patrons and employees coming to downtown.

Johnston went on to say that his office has studied similar plans implemented by Lexington and Louisville. While Lexington went with a county plan, Louisville went with a more urban plan, something the city manager said was more “viable” for Covington.

The idea of such an authority has been discussed for at least eight years, commissioners said.

But Commissioner Downing wanted everyone to know that the resolution was simply to investigate the Parking Authority idea, which would then be brought back to the board and discussed.

ALSO TUESDAY:

– Commissioners heard the first reading of a new ordinance that will require a signed Acknowledgment of Confidentiality of Tax Information form “from city finance department employees and other specified individuals.” Language for the new ordinance comes from similar laws at the state level, the city manager said.

– Commissioners again set the city’s official Halloween hours for 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 31. While the day is a Tuesday, it will be the fifth one of the month, which means there will be no city commission meeting that night.

– Commissioners then went into Executive Session.

The next Covington Commission meeting will be a caucus meeting held at 6 p.m., Nov. 7 at the Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St.

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