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Plans are in the works to begin selling alcohol at Campbellsville Country Club.
And Campbellsville City Council members are expected to take the first step to making that a reality tonight.
In January, voters in the New North precinct were asked to vote “Yes” or “No” to the question, “Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink at Campbellsville Country Club in the New North precinct of Taylor County, Ky.?”
Voters approved the measure by a 60 to 40 percent margin.
Council members are expected to have first reading of an amendment to the city’s current alcohol sales ordinance tonight. The amendment is expected to set the regulations for the club to serve alcohol.
Since it hasn’t yet been approved, the proposed amendment was not available for its details to be included in this story. Council members will meet at 6 p.m. tonight for public comment on the amendment. Days and hours the club will be allowed to serve alcohol will be discussed.
Council members’ regular meeting will follow the hearing at 7. Both are at the meeting room above Campbellsville Police Department and are open to the public.
Joe Noland, who spearheaded the petition to get the question before voters, said the club’s plans to begin selling alcohol are up in the air right now.
“More or less just in limbo,” he said.
Noland said a committee has discussed the issue many times and is still in the process of deciding how the club will sale alcohol.
“Then we can figure out what we want to do,” he said.
Before the club can begin selling alcohol, it must complete a liquor license application. That process takes several months.
As of now, Mike Kehoe said earlier this year, club members can bring alcohol to the club and have it served to them. He said they can also bring alcohol to the club and drink it while playing golf.
The club used to have a restaurant that was open to the public. Noland said it was closed at the beginning of the year after sales dwindled. However, renovations are in the works at the restaurant, according to Kehoe.
Noland said a long-term goal is to get the restaurant back in operation.
“We would like to get it open to the public,” he said. “We’re just gonna try to take baby steps.”
And Noland said those baby steps start with the club’s snack bar re-opening and alcohol being sold there. That would just be for members, he said.
“And just try to grow from there,” he said.
Noland said committee members still aren’t sure just how much money could be generated from alcohol sales at the club. He said committee members are waiting to hear city officials discuss what the club can and can’t do. “They wanna make sure they’re doing the right thing,” he said.
Kehoe said the club will move forward after the city’s alcohol ordinance is amended and will abide by the requirements in it.
Noland and Kehoe said earlier this year that they had heard very little talk about the petition asking for sales at the club. And they say that’s still true.
“It’s the wrong season to hear talk. They aren’t out there often [right now],” he said. “I still haven’t heard any opposition.”
Kehoe said he hasn’t heard any negative reactions to the petition being approved.
“Nobody seems to be up in arms about what’s gonna go on out here,” he said.
Noland said earlier this year that country club memberships can cost between $1,600 and $2,200.
Membership stands at about 250.
The petition asking for alcohol sales at the club began after the club’s board met to discuss some new ways to collect revenue. Board members agreed that one of the better options, Noland said, was to begin selling alcohol.
Members also agreed that selling alcohol could make the club more presentable and competitive, Noland said, and to feel more a part of the community. He said it could also encourage more industry to come to the area.
January’s election was historical, according to Taylor County Clerk Mark Carney.
It was the first in Taylor County’s history to allow a single precinct to vote on an issue. It was also the first in which voters who live outside the city limits could vote on an alcohol issue.
The New North precinct is made of Forest Hills Subdivision to Old Pitman Road, Woodhill Subdivision and portions of Coakley and Meader streets. Some areas of the precinct are located inside the city limits, while some are outside.
In all, 70 percent of the New North precinct voters live inside city limits. The remaining 30 percent live outside, but within the county boundaries. Taylor County was a dry territory until 2008, when voters who live inside the city decided it should be moist. Only those who live inside the city limits could vote.
In May 2008, voters living within the city limits approved the sale of alcohol in restaurants seating at least 50 people as long as drinks are served in conjunction with a meal. Restaurants must derive at least 70 percent of their income from the sale of food. The measure passed by 74 votes. The petition for the country club asked if voters were in favor of allowing the club to sell alcohol by the drink only, meaning meals will not have to be served in order to purchase alcohol.
Country clubs can ask for the exemption because state law says they likely can’t meet the 70 percent income requirement from food sales. If the measure hadn’t been approved in January, it couldn’t have been brought to a vote again for three more years.