Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Newport loosens up liquor laws


Changes aimed at conforming with state

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Liquor will flow a little freer in some instances, and development plans will continue to buzz on the Newport riverfront.

        A series of changes in Newport's liquor laws, being considered by the City Commission, at first glance appear to be aimed at new business coming into the city in the form of restaurants and hotels. They'll help enable a microbrewery, wine auctions and hotel room-service alcohol.

        Actually, the amendments are to bring local laws in line with Kentucky alcoholic beverage regulations. Some of them fit in nicely with Newport's continuing commercial growth and development.

        “We're just adjusting our regulations to conform with what the state has set up recently,” Newport City Manager Phil Ciafardini said.“Periodically, the state makes changes to its liquor regulations. The state ultimately controls alcohol laws, and we need our alcohol regulations to be in compliance with state law. Our code reflects what the state regulates, so we don't have any conflicts.”

        It's coincidence, Mr. Ciafardini said, that one of the city alcohol regulations being amended deals with the creation of a microbrewery license, and had nothing to do with plans for a brewery at the proposed Hofbrauhaus restaurant on Third Street.

        “Frankly, I didn't know that the Hofbrauhaus people were going to build a microbrewery,” he said. “This was to be in line with a similar state regulation. But it fits perfectly if Hofbrauhaus has a brewery.”

        Similarly, three amended portions of the city liquor laws dealing with alcoholic drinks sold to hotel guests in their rooms don't reflect the city's growing hotel business. Instead, they match changes in state law.

        Other amendments being discussed by the commission to conform to state law include:

        • Creating a special temporary distilled-spirits and wine-auction license.

        • Creating a riverboat liquor drink license.

        Restaurants, nightclubs and hotels have proliferated in the past two years in Newport, thanks to the riverfront development of the Newport Aquarium and Newport on the Levee entertainment complex.

        A new Hilton Garden Inn hotel and a combination office/condominium building, both east of the L&N Bridge near the levee, are to start construction in the spring.

       



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