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Going the Distance on Liquor Law

September 17th, 2009 by admin · 11 Comments

Seems pretty simple.

St. Matthews has a law requiring that new liquor stores must be at least 700 feet from existing liquor stores.


And as you can see from this picture, the new Liquor Barn under construction on Shelbyville Road is pretty darn close to the Beverage Warehouse operation across the street.

The Beverage Warehouse owner, Greg Anastas, is suing St. Matthews, Liquor Barn and the state ABC Board for allowing construction to continue toward a planned early October opening. A judge will rule this week on whether or not to delay things — with the case hinging on how you measure the distance between the front doors of the two storefronts. Here’s how the C-J covered the story.

The St. Matthews ABC administrator, James King, issued a letter to Liquor Barn attorney Kenneth Handmaker March 10 indicating he’d measured the distance and found it to be too close. Not the end of the story, however.

The next day King got a letter from Handmaker, threatening an appeal.  On March 11, King changed his mind and approved the application for St. Matthews.

Liquor Barn believes the measurement required by the law is that the 700-foot barrier must be taken by going out the front door, walking to the nearest crosswalk, crossing the street and coming back. Anastas says you merely have to go to a nearer spot to cross the street.

Anastas believes the opening of the store across the street would obviously impact his business. He’s got four stores in the city, including one that competes with a Liquor Barn near Hursbourne. When he opened that store three years ago, he says he was able to take 30 percent of Liquor Barn’s business in that location.

The new Liquor Barn, on the site of a former car dealership, would be at least five times as large as the Beverage Warehouse on Shelbyville Road, and would be right across the street.

“The St. Matthews law is obviously¬† being broken,” Anastas said. “My goal is to win this or to get a legal answer on why I’m wrong. Neither has been given.”

Anastas says he explained how and why the law was being broken in May, and provided copies to all concerned, and that he still hasn’t gotten a response.

Tags: Alcohol · Legal · Retail · Shopping · State Government · Zoning

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 john // Sep 17, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Per the C-J article, it would seem that Greg Anastas is incorrect that the measurement must be taken by going out the front door, walking to the nearest crosswalk and crossing the street. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruling on the current precedent-setting case was that “a distance measurement should be taken along a route that is both lawful and safe”.”.

  • 2 Earl // Sep 17, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Didn’t we go through this a couple of years ago on Bardstown Road, and didn’t they rule that you had to measure using the route had to be measured using legal crosswalks, and not direct? I can’t remember the actual bar, maybe involving Bambi getting liquor or something?

  • 3 rickredding // Sep 17, 2009 at 11:27 am

    that was the Molly Malone case, which Anastas claims does not apply here. But it’s what the Liquor Barn folks are using as their argument.

  • 4 Bill // Sep 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    This is a law that needs to be repealed because there is already enough laws on the books about alcohol. What this really boils down to isn’t anything more than a restriction on someone else operating a free enterprise and trying to make a buck.

    I think I’ll make sure to support Liquor Barn than the whiners that are whining because of some obscure law written by a bunch of ninnies.

  • 5 ThereWasOne? // Sep 17, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Bill, people make decisions on where to place their businesses based on laws – both common and statutory. It doesn’t say, but perhaps this guy paid a lawyer, talked to the ABC and put his money down based on the advice he got.

    When I was in state government, this happened all the time. We always gave disclaimers that “laws may change,” but this guy invested real money, and he has a right to defend his investment.

  • 6 Bill // Sep 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    So what you’re really saying is that we favor one business at the expense of others that might locate in the area. So what you’re really getting at is forgetting that the consumer if he wants to visit Liquor Barn has that choice than to support the other establishment.

    Of course, according to the existing law he may or may not be right in their distance from his property. That’s up to the court to decide among existing law. Obviously, he’s more concerned that Liquor Barn is going to smash him into bits and pieces. Otherwise, if he wasn’t worried about it, then he would welcome the competition and let the best man or woman win.

    Sounds like some good selective enforcement for allowing existing businesses to keep out other competition. That’s a good reason why they should locate 710 feet from him. Obviously, someone issued the permit or they wouldn’t be building it. That’s the fault of the city and not Liquor Barn.

    Regardless, I hope he gets stomped into the ground and his competitors take his business. I’ll make sure to frequent the new establishment across the street.

  • 7 Bill // Sep 17, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Oh, and I also have to mention that Liquor Barn spent real money constructing such an establishment after the ABC allowed them to go in. So the way I look at this, its mostly the city of St. Matthews fault.

  • 8 DJ 65 // Sep 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I have to wonder if Liquor Barn is locally owned or a chain? Greg Anastas is a local businessman trying to follow the rules and make a living for his family. I, contrary to Bill’s comment, will always support Mr. Anastas because I’m tired of seeing the MEGA SUPER STORE du jour in my neighborhood. God Bless the small businessman!

  • 9 ToddSmith // Sep 17, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Liquor Barn was locally owned and recently sold to a company from Canada, I believe.

  • 10 RICHB // Sep 18, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Looks like the east end is turning into the
    west end with all the liquor stores in St Matthews.
    What’s next more pawn shops? Could the amount of liquor stores show with more people out of work
    drinking is on the rise? Personally I’m not complaining I live in St Matthews and like have easy access to my booze.

  • 11 chief // Sep 24, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Greg Anastas ought to be GLAD that King Jerry isn’t giving FREE FORGIVABLE $$$$ to Liq Barn to locate next to him and dilliute his business…..May the best argument win!….But I’ve got to go with the local guy!

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