In a bipartisan 16-7 vote, the Louisville Metro Council approved an ordinance expanding liquor sales on Sundays to 10 a.m. for local restaurants.
There are around 300 restaurants licensed to sell alcohol in the city on Sunday by the drink. Businesses are required to wait until 1 p.m. before serving customers, however.
State law allows for local governments to amend those restrictions, and a sharp debate ensued on the council.
Councilman David Tandy, D-4, who represents parts of downtown where many sit-down restaurants are located, is the chief sponsor of the bill.
Some city lawmakers and many religious leaders expressed concerns about increased crime and incremental steps to allow Sunday liquor sales at other types businesses.
But Tandy says the legislation was aimed at helping restaurants that wanted to serve brunch ahead of the Kentucky Derby.
“With the passage of this legislation we have taken steps toward furthering economic growth in Louisville through our hospitality industry. This helps our economy keep dollars circulating in our community by allowing Louisville restaurants to compete with their Southern Indiana counterparts,” he says.
Supporters of ordinance stress it effects restaurants only, and will not allow retail outlets and other stores to sell alcohol at earlier hours.
In an effort to appease those concerns the council also approved an amendment designed to give more transparency to the process of applying or changing an alcohol license.
Under the amended law, businesses will have additional requirements designed to alert residents and neighborhood groups about when the application process begins.
The new requirements include:
· Notice must be posted on property at the time of the application or changes to the current license
· Notice will remain posted during the application process
· Notice shall be in at least 14 point font size, on at least 8 inches by 11.5 inches yellow paper of durable material
“For too long, the public has not been properly notified when someone applies for a alcohol license in Metro Louisville,” says Councilwoman Marianne Butler, D-15, who proposed the amendment. “Current state law requires the applicant to do a legal notice in the largest newspaper in the area. With many people not receiving the printed newspaper today, the laws need to catch up with technology. By posting at the property, neighbors and nearby residents will know when an applicant has applied for an alcohol license.”
Both changes will go into effect upon the signature of Mayor Greg Fischer, who is expected to sign both ordinances immediately before next Sunday.
“(The mayor) will sign it as soon as council sends the document to him,” says Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter.