Archive for Thursday, July 10, 2003

Countywide Sunday sales up for discussion

July 10, 2003

Like releasing corks held under water, proposals promoting the Sunday sales of packaged liquor keep popping back up.

Two local cities, Basehor and Tonganoxie, previously voted down pro-Sunday sales proposals. However, the issue has come back up for both cities, as each must decide whether they will support a county-sponsored Sunday sales package.

Both City Councils plan to discuss the issue during meetings Monday, July 14.

"Due to the fact the City Council voted no, we need to see if our opinions are (any different) for county sales," Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer said.

Basehor and Tonganoxie are two of the few remaining cities in the area banning Sunday sales in compliance with the state's 1949 Liquor Control Act, which prohibits Sunday sales.

Cities such as Lansing, Bonner Springs and Leavenworth followed the footsteps of Edwardsville and Kansas City, Kan., in using their home rule powers to opt out of the law.

For Basehor and Tonganoxie, the issue was thought dead but has been resurrected of sorts because the Leavenworth County Commission is considering opting out of the Sunday sales ban.

In late June, the three-member board heard a presentation from Tonganoxie lawyer Mike Kelly, who proposed a countywide Sunday sales ordinance. Kelly represents at least one liquor store owner, Bernard Dugan, who owns J.B.'s Liquor Store at 18731 155th Street.

The county commission has asked area cities for their opinions before making a decision.A county-approved Sunday sales ordinance would not supercede Basehor or Tonganoxie's compliance with state Sunday liquor laws -- liquor stores in the city would still be banned from selling on Sunday's, although competing stores in the county could remain open on those days.

An approved Leavenworth County Sunday sales ordinance presents an interesting dilemma for both Basehor and Tonganoxie.

Both cities have a liquor store inside city limits but liquor stores in the county less than a half mile away.

In Basehor, Shorty's Liquor Store, located inside the Basehor Town Square at 155th Street and State Avenue, is located just across the highway from J.B.'s Liquor Store, which is not within the city limits.

In Tonganoxie, J.R.'s Liquor Store located on State Avenue, is just a half-mile from Angell's Liquor, located in the county on County Road 16.

An approved countywide Sunday sales ordinance could mean two liquor stores separated by less than a half mile would be allowed to open on different times and days, Tonganoxie and Basehor city officials said.

Both cities plan to form a response during their meetings.

Scherer said considering countywide Sunday sales does not signify a shift in philosophy by the Basehor City Council, which voted down its ordinance June 23, but is merely an item the county commission has asked them to consider.

"At this point, I would say it's dead in the water," the mayor said. "But, as time goes by, and if the (courts) deem it legal, I'll probably ask the City Council to move forward."

Tonganoxie assistant city administrator Kathy Bard said the City Council there must decide whether a county Sunday sales ordinance would create an "unfair market," for city liquor stores.

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