Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Anti-liquor forces circulate petition for McLouth vote

August 30, 2006

McLouth's first liquor store in decades continues to create a stir.

And it's possible that McLouth voters will be asked to determine the store's fate in November.

A change in Kansas liquor laws last year opened the door to the sale of packaged retail liquor, even in towns that had laws forbidding liquor stores.

In effect, Kansas cities were given a three-month window -- from Nov. 15, 2005, to Feb. 15, 2006 -- to prohibit the sale of packaged liquor.

When McLouth took no action, the city, for the first time in decades, became wet.

That prompted McLouth resident Charles Karmann to began plans to start up a liquor store in downtown McLouth. He opened Aug. 1.

Citizens against the sale of retail liquor quickly took action and by mid-August, were carrying petitions. The purpose of the petition is to let McLouth voters decide -- in the Nov. 7 election -- whether the city will remain wet, or return to dry.

Linda Buttron, Jefferson County clerk, said a petition to bring the liquor issue to a vote would require

70 valid signatures. In order to make it to the November ballot, the petition must be filed by Sept. 8.

If the petition's question makes it to the November ballot, here's how it will be worded:

"No retailer's license shall be issued for premises within the city of McLouth, Kansas, for the sale of retail alcoholic liquor in the original package."

Voters will check yes or no on the ballot.

Monday, Karmann said he hadn't heard how the petition drive was going.

"Business has been good," Karmann said. "It's pretty good all the time. I think there's a few that are against it but those are the ones that talk the loudest."

He's not losing much sleep over the possible election. But he knows, if voters vote to forbid the sale of packaged retail liquor, he'll have 90 days to close.

"My guess is, it's probably going to end up going to a vote, but I really believe that when it does go to a vote it won't even be close," Karmann said. "Most of the people in the town like it."

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