Sunday, February 22, 2004

Erlanger businesses want earlier Sunday alcohol sales



By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ERLANGER - This Kenton County city could soon join a growing number of communities relaxing restrictions on Sunday alcohol sales.

Current city law allows sales of beer and liquor by the drink starting at 1 p.m. on Sundays. But 19 Erlanger businesses that sell alcoholic beverages have petitioned city council to allow alcohol sales starting as early as 6 a.m. on Sundays.

WHAT'S NEXT
Erlanger City Council's commerce and economic development committee will give its recommendation on proposed changes to Erlanger's Sunday liquor sales at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the city building, 505 Commonwealth Ave. If the committee recommends any changes at the March 2 council meeting, the full council would vote on the issue in April.

To comment: Call (859) 727-2525, or e-mail Mayor Marc Ott or Commerce and Economic Development Committee members Jim Burger and Brian Hammond. Addresses are on the city's web site, www.friendshipcity.com

Advocates say they want earlier Sunday liquor sales to maintain a competitive edge. Yet some Erlanger churchgoers say Sunday should remain a sacred day that is respected by businesses selling alcohol.

City leaders have asked anyone who wants to comment to contact Mayor Marc Otto, the city clerk or Jim Burger and Brian Hammond of city council.

Recently, several Northern Kentucky governments relaxed restrictions on Sunday alcohol sales.

Covington triggered many of the changes when officials voted three years ago to let beer flow earlier on Sundays. Restaurant owners complained they were losing business to Cincinnati establishments.

Covington City Commission responded by permitting restaurants to sell Sunday beer at 11 a.m. instead of 1 p.m.

Liquor stores and carryouts also were permitted to sell beer two hours earlier on Sundays.

Neighboring Taylor Mill and Independence followed suit last summer.

A year ago, Florence, Boone County's largest city, approved the Sunday sale of mixed drinks and wine from 1 p.m. until closing in certain restaurants.The Erlanger United Methodist Church recently gave Erlanger City Council a petition signed by 150 people who oppose earlier Sunday liquor sales.

"We just see no reason to have any Sunday liquor sales before 1 p.m.," said the Rev. John Street, minister of Erlanger United Methodist Church. "It's a matter of principle for us.

"For Christians, Sunday is a holy day."

E-mail cschroeder@enequirer.com




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