Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2003

Leavenworth County Commission rejects Sunday sales proposal

July 24, 2003

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That's what signs at most liquor stores in Leavenworth County read on Sundays, and outside of Leavenworth and Lansing, that's the way it will continue.

In a Monday, July 21, decision, the three-member Leavenworth County Commission voted down a proposal allowing the sale of packaged liquor on Sundays in unincorporated areas of the county. The vote means Leavenworth County will comply with the state's Liquor Control Act of 1949.

Before reaching its decision, the county commission heard a presentation from Tonganoxie lawyer Mike Kelly and his client, Bernard Dugan, who owns J.B.'s Liquor Store at 18731 155th Street, just outside Basehor.

With surrounding cities such as Lansing, Leavenworth, Bonner Springs and Edwardsville opting out of the state's Sunday sales ban, Kelly said it's important to provide county businesses with the same economic opportunities as businesses in those cities.

The county commission began reviewing the Sunday sales issue in late June following a similar presentation from Kelly. The commission asked area municipalities to weigh in their opinions concerning a possible pro- Sunday sales countywide ordinance.

Last week, Basehor and Tonganoxie city councils -- both of which rejected city Sunday sales ordinances -- returned their answers to the commissioners. Basehor reached a consensus not to support the measure, while the Tonganoxie City Council was split in its decision.

But, the county commission didn't come to its decision lightly. Before rejecting the proposal, commissioner Bob Adams made a motion to authorize Sunday sales, while retaining state exemptions of holiday closings and with hours of operation to be 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The motion failed to receive a second.

County Commission chairman Joe Daniels moved to deny the authorization of Sunday sales, yet again, the issue failed to receive a second.

A third motion, to approve Sunday sales, was seconded, and failed 1-2, with Daniels and commissioner Don Navinsky voting against.

Daniels and Navinsky cited the lack of approval from the Basehor and Tonganoxie city councils as reasons for moving to deny the proposal.

But the county commission's decision wasn't the only board to consider Sunday sales this week.

On Tuesday, July 22, the Leavenworth City Commission voted 5-0, to rescind previous approval of the cereal malt beverage portion of its Sunday sales proposal. This portion of the Leavenworth ordinance would have allowed grocery and convenience stores to sell packaged liquor on Sundays as well.

However, after discussing the issue with the Kansas Attorney General's office, the city commission decided it best to bypass the sale of cereal malt beverages on Sundays, said Gary Ortiz, Leavenworth city manager.

"Basically, the attorney general pointed out (the cereal malt beverage) portion of the Liquor Control Act is uniform to all cities," Ortiz said. "We didn't want to put our vendors at risk for being prosecuted."

Leavenworth is still pursuing Sunday sales. The ordinance will become effective in September, Ortiz said.

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