After a 3-2 vote Monday night, Benton, Kentucky’s city council has approved by-the-drink liquor sales on Sundays as city and county governments in Marshall County begin to finalize their alcohol ordinances. Voters there approved going wet in July by a narrow 200-vote margin.
Benton councilman Chris Freeland says he voted for Sunday sales so that the city won’t miss out on weekend revenue generated by the lakes area’s tourism.
“The rest of the county is allowing it," Freeland said. "You’ve got Calvert [City] that’s doing packaged sales and restaurant sales and the county is going to, looks like, allow restaurant sales as well. So if you don’t allow it, you really put Benton businesses at a disadvantage.”
“You pretty much guarantee that no new restaurant is going to come to Benton that plans on serving alcohol because that’s 4 or 5 days out of the month that they’re going to miss that revenue," Freeland said.
Calvert City, closer to Kentucky Lake, already allowed by-the-drink sales before the referendum. Their ordinance allows packaged sales from 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.
The Benton City Council will finalize their ordinance at a meeting Monday, September 21, at 6 p.m. Freeland said distances that have been discussed are 500 feet between liquor stores and churches and 1,000 feet between liquor stores and schools. Calvert City's ordinance doesn't include a minimum distance because theirs is based entirely on zoning.
For details on the county ordinance, click here.