Petition for alcohol sales in Boyd County collecting signatures

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 7:13 PM EDT
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BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) - In Boyd County, only certain areas in the city of Ashland permit packaged sales of alcohol. However, a petition making the rounds on social media could change that.

A campaign called Vote Wet Boyd is gathering signatures to get the question, “Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in Boyd County?” on the November ballot.

“I think from an economic standpoint, I think it opens a lot of doors,” said Boyd County Judge Executive Eric Chaney. “We can’t go after distilleries or even pharmacies. We can’t go after pharmacies because they have packaged sales.”

In 2016, a similar petition went around and garnered enough signatures. The City of Ashland tried to block the vote, citing the wording on the ballot was “fatally flawed.” A judge allowed the vote to go on, but the measure failed by 1,100 votes.

Both the city of Ashland and Boyd County Fiscal Court are under different leadership than four years ago. Chaney says he as talked with current city leaders about the benefits a “yes” vote would have for the entire county. He says it would not have a negative impact on revenue the city of Ashland receives from a special tax on alcohol sales within certain precincts.

“I firmly believe that we’re all on the same page to creating a better Boyd County, and working together,” he said.

Chaney, who is in favor of the measure, says there has been push back from people against it.

In a poll on WSAZ’s Chad Hedrick’s Facebook page, some voters against the measure cite religious reasons or worries about drunk driving as their reason to vote no, while those who say yes say they want to see growth in the county.

Hey Boyd County viewers! I want to hear from you! I am working on a story today about a petition going around to put a...

Posted by Chad Hedrick WSAZ on Tuesday, July 14, 2020

“I understand the reason, I understand the concerns. I truly do, but at the same time it’s 2020. We need to be able to adapt and move forward.”

Chaney says some big-name restaurants have turned down opening locations in the county because of a current 70% to 30% set ratio for food to alcohol.

Last week the Boyd County Fiscal Court introduced an ordinance to get ahead of the measure, should it pass. The ordinance regulates sales including not allowing adult entertainment venues to sell alcohol.

The ordinance will have a second reading in August when community input will also be heard.

The petition needs 3,423 signatures by Aug. 11 in order for the issue to be put on the November ballot.

To sign the petition, click here.

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