By Leeann Akers - Editor
Jan. 15, 2014 — Tuesday, March 11, will be the day when voters in Olive Hill decide if they want to end that city’s 76-year dry spell for legal alcoholic beverages.
A special election asking residents if they want to approve the sale of alcoholic beverages will be conducted in the five precincts within the city limits.
All Olive Hill precincts vote at the West Carter Middle School.
Olive Hill voters opted for legally “dry” status in 1937, as did Grayson. However, the east end city voted last June to authorize legal sales which actually began in October.
The election date was set by Carter County Judge-Executive Charles Wallace, as required by state law, after County Clerk Mike Johnston certified that the petition requesting the local option election contained the required number of voter signatures.
The petition initially was rejected with 13 signatures less than the required 139 which is 25 percent of the city voters in the November election of 2012.
However, the group seeking the petition returned with at least 17 additional signatures, according to Nici Raybourn, one of the organizers.
The last attempt to make Olive Hill “wet” was in July 1971 when both Olive Hill and Grayson rejected legal sales.
Residents of the Iron Hill precinct near Carter City voted in 2008 to allow Rock Springs Vineyard and Winery to sell wine on its premises. Rock Springs is licensed as a small farm winery.
Carter is among 83 Kentucky counties that permit legal sale of alcoholic beverages in some part of the county.
With a winery and a wet city, Carter is considered among the state’s “moist” counties.
If Olive Hill goes “wet”, the City Council will be required to establish procedures for licensing businesses to sell alcoholic beverages, including the appointment of an administrator.
The city’s ordinance also would have to comply with state laws and regulations administered by the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).