06/15/14 — Pikeville to vote on beer again

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Pikeville to vote on beer again

By Melinda Harrell
Published in News on June 15, 2014 1:50 AM

PIKEVILLE -- Pikeville residents will have another opportunity to decide if the stores within town limits will be allowed to sell beer.

In the November general election, Pikeville voters will be able to vote on a referendum, which would allow the off-premise sale of malt beverages within city limits.

This issue has been on the ballot, as a referendum, three times in the last 12 years and has always failed to pass.

The town council approved the language for the latest referendum earlier this month.

Town Administrator Blake Proctor believes the passing of this measure would open Pikeville up to many economic development opportunities.

"I have never seen a dry community develop economically, but I have see formerly dry communities that agree to sell beer and wine, grow economically when they allowed the sale. This is for economic development that will allow the town to grow," Proctor said.

Should the referendum pass, it would be possible to buy beer from a store within town limits, but it would not allow for on-premise sale of alcohol of any kind.

This means bars would still not be allowed to open and restaurants would still not be able to sell beer.

Proctor says the referendum would make convenience store chains more likely to open in Pikeville, which would generate revenue for the town and encourage further growth.

"Ninety-nine percent of convenience stores won't open here if we don''t allow beer sales. This is an avenue to attract development from the highways," Proctor said.

In 2002, the referendum failed by 25 votes. In 2005, the referendum failed 32 votes. More recently in 2009, the referendum failed by 23 votes.

Proctor says these failures were in large part due to the confusing language of the question on the ballot.

In 2002 and 2005, the ballot had two issues for the voters to decide. The referendum included the off premises sale of beer and unfortified wine.

On the 2009 ballot, the referendum included having the sale of malt beverages off premises, along with on premises sale of unfortified wine and beer.

The upcoming referendum will ask voters if they are for or against permitting "off premises sale of malt beverages."

"This time we are just asking one simple question," Proctor said.