Archive for Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Overland Park OKs Sunday liquor sales

K.C. suburb poised to study further expansion of ordinances

May 21, 2003


— This suburb of Kansas City, Mo., has become the latest to usher in Sunday liquor sales.

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance permitting the city's 28 liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The ordinance still could be blocked if a petition calling for a referendum is submitted by July 28.

Wyandotte County was the first to test its right to opt out of the Kansas ban on Sunday liquor sales.

Last fall, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., and the city of Edwardsville approved ordinances allowing Sunday sales, arguing the state's Liquor Control Act does not apply uniformly to all cities.

An appeal by Atty. Gen. Phill Kline is pending before the Kansas Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Wyandotte County is further testing the state's liquor laws. Overland Park and several other communities in neighboring Johnson County are following the same path.

Earlier this month, the Unified Government approved the sale of alcohol on three holidays -- Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

Monday, Overland Park also agreed to allow the stores to open on the same holidays.

And the Overland Park City Council's finance committee has gone one step further, asking lawyers to examine whether the city could allow groceries and convenience stores to sell packaged liquor daily, including Sundays.

State law now limits groceries to selling beer with 3.2 percent alcohol Mondays through Saturdays. Council members want to know whether the city can independently expand the type of alcohol that groceries sell.

Lenexa also has approved Sunday liquor sales. City Atty. Cindy Harmison said Monday that she did not expect Sunday sales to start there until June 29 at the earliest -- about a week after the deadline for filing a protest petition.

Monday in Prairie Village, the City Council delayed moving forward with the issue until June 2 because of concerns regarding how long liquor stores should be open on Sundays and whether the city could or should permit liquor sales on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Not everyone is happy about the push to expand liquor sales.

"I am very disappointed, very disappointed," Jane Clark said as she left Monday night's meeting in Overland Park. "It just makes me sick."

In a statement Friday, Kline said if more cities vote to allow Sunday sales, Kansas would be in "an untenable legal position."

"There is a legitimate danger that local entities will continue to deviate from state liquor control laws," Kline said.

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