Upholding a previous decision by Boyle County Circuit Court Judge Darren Peckler, the state Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that a lawsuit meant to prevent liquor sales in Junction City was without merit.
The decision comes just more than a year after the case, filed by Liquor Mart of Danville, was dismissed by the lower court.
“I think it gives us an opportunity to move on,” Mayor Jim Douglas said, stressing that alcohol sales have been nothing but good for Junction City, raising thousands of dollars in tax revenue.
The lawsuit against the city argued that Junction City’s classification should be based on population and the 2010 Census showed the city was well short of 3,000 people needed to be a Fourth Class city and have the right to hold a local option election on alcohol sales.
However, City Attorney William Noelker explained that city classification had “fundamentally changed” and that cities could now be classified by the legislature, which was done in 2011.
“The new section 156a gave the legislature more discretion,” Noelker said. “We were confident” the court would side with the city.
Even with the lawsuit pending, the city began handing out malt beverage and liquor licenses to a number of businesses, including two package liquor stores and other outlets that just sell beer.
Douglas expressed that the revenue generated from the sales has been “healthy.”
At press time, no one from Liquor Mart was available to comment. The company could choose to appeal to the state Supreme Court, but Noelker said the appellate court’s decision was pretty clear and that was unlikely to change at the next level.