Retail liquor may be in store for Eudora
Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle thinks having a liquor store in town is a fine idea. And, thanks to the Kansas Legislature, it might become more than an idea in the near future.
A new state liquor law would allow any city in Kansas to have a liquor store unless the governing body voted to ban such stores. If the City Council took no action, Eudora would become a wet city Feb. 16, 2006, said Sandy Jaquot, League of Kansas Municipalities Director of Law.
However, Jaquot said, if before Nov. 15 a citizen petition was presented to the Council with the names of at least 5 percent of registered voters, a referendum would be scheduled to ban liquor stores and an ordinance could be passed to keep Eudora dry.
The new law is in contrast to former state statute that required a city to have a special election to allow liquor stores to operate.
Pyle said he believed the Eudora City Council would not vote to ban liquor stores. He said he and the Council members were in favor of a liquor store opening because it would be good for Eudora's economy by keeping more money in Eudora.
"I think they (liquor stores) will be a plus," Pyle said. "As far as the city is concerned, we will get sales tax. And those who do consume will not have to drive to Lawrence."
The city would also get a portion of the alcohol and beverage tax charged on liquor, Pyle said.
He said he was also in favor of a liquor store because any new business in town would bring new jobs for Eudora residents.
"It's going to fill a need in many, many ways," Pyle said.
Eudora City Councilman Scott Hopson said he would not be against having a liquor store in Eudora or selling alcohol by the drink. He said if Eudora residents wanted more restaurant options in town, there would need to be more freedom for those restaurants to serve alcohol.
"We're going to have to have it," Hopson said. "I just think we're going to need it to bring business in."
However, Hopson said he would be against any establishment opening in Eudora that would promote an irreverent atmosphere.
"We want to keep our town a respectable town," he said.
In discussing the topic with community members, Pyle said he had heard two opinions opposing liquor stores in Eudora, but that generally he thought residents were open to the idea.
"It's personal preference," Pyle said. "There's no law that says you have to buy it."
Pyle said he had already been approached by an individual who expressed interest in opening a liquor store in Eudora.
In the past, he said, anyone who was interested in opening a liquor store in Eudora backed off after learning it could only happen with a referendum.