A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Early morning beer in the Cov? Exception would allow alcohol sales at 6 a.m. on St. Paddy’s Day

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

The green beer will be flowing pretty early this St. Patrick’s Day if a new exception to a city law is approved.

Like, 6 a.m. early.

Three separate establishments have requested an amendment so the city can sell alcohol by the drink on a Sunday — specifically Sunday, March 17, which just so happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. And they want to get it started bright and early at 6 a.m. 

Commissioners heard the proposal at their regularly scheduled caucus meeting Tuesday night.

“Did you say 6 a.m.?” Commissioner Shannon Smith asked, laughing. 

City Solicitor and ABC Administrator Michael Bartlett replied that he did, in fact, say that, noting that the establishments want to prepare for early brunches with adult beverages.

City officials noted that Covington has allowed such exceptions twice in recent years, once when the Bengals played in London, England, and another time for a cheering celebration during the 2017 Flying Pig Marathon.

But this change would be different. This one would make it so Commissioners wouldn’t have to keep approving such amendments on special years — or whenever St. Paddy’s Day falls on a Sunday. 

“The proposed amendment will add a permanent exception to allow earlier alcohol sales by the drink on Sundays as long as a Special Event and other permits are obtained,” city documents say.

Still, that led some to wonder if it was a good idea, including Commissioner Michelle Williams, who asked Bartlett if that meant anyone could just sell alcohol every Sunday. 

Bartlett said that in theory, it could give some establishments that opportunity, but that they would have to have all the major permits, which would be a headache to obtain, as well as a designation for a civic or community event.

The Commission will have a first reading of the amendment next week at their legislative meeting.

Also Tuesday:

– Commissioners heard a second quarter budget update from city Finance Director Muhammed Owusu. Owusu reported that at this point of the year, the city’s finances should be at or near 50 percent. Revenue of the $52 million general fund budget was at 52 percent and expenditures were at 42 percent. “Everything here is in line with our budget,” Owusu said.

Commissioner Tim Downing noted that the city may still want to deliver something more easily deciphered by the public, like perhaps a glossary of terms, or something that could describe where certain things are located in the budget.

Owusu said he could provide something like that in the near future.  

– Commissioners will hear a first reading next week on an amendment that will rezone certain sections of the Linden Gateway District for Community and Market Gardens. 

In November 2018, the commission ordered a public hearing before the Kenton County Planning Commission “to amend the Covington Zoning Ordinance adding the use of ‘Market Garden’ as a conditional use in all residential zones and the Linden Gateway District zone, to allow for community gardens as permitted uses in the Linden Gateway District zone, to create Use Specific Standards for the Market Garden use, and to define ‘Market Garden,’” city documents read. 

In January, the County Planning Commission held a public hearing and made a favorable recommendation to adopt them.

– Commissioners heard a proposal to adopt a resolution supporting “sustainable-based energy policies and the reduction in green­house gas emissions in order to slow or reverse the adverse effects of climate change.” Jim Vogt, and Tom Cislo, both of Covington, represent the Citizens’ Climate Lobby nonprofit group. 

“In order to generate the political will necessary for passage of our Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal we train and support volunteers to engage elected officials, the media and the public,” the letter stated.

The pair noted that 121 cities and counties across the country have supported the idea, which is now in the form of a bipartisan bill, and Covington could become the first city in Kentucky.

Commissioners requested more discussion on the topic and will put it on their legislative agenda Feb. 26.

– Commissioners heard from the city’s fleet manager, Steve Hedger, who updated them on the strategy of the department, which has a budget of $1.2 million, including six mechanics, 230 vehicles and another 200 pieces of equipment. Hedger presented a plan to help replace those pieces of equipment when their life cycles are over. 

– The Commission meeting was delayed for about five minutes Tuesday night due to audio problems associated with the television broadcast. 

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Feb. 12, at the Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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