A petition drive seeking to repeal a change to a Kansas City liquor license ordinance fell short of the required signatures Monday.
Mike T. White, an attorney representing several property owners opposed to the new ordinance, said petitioners collected 3,069 signatures; they needed 3,417.
White said the petitioners’ cause is not yet lost. They have about two weeks to gather the remaining signatures.
“We have many more petitions outstanding that we have yet to collect,” White wrote in an email to The Star on Monday evening. “Those petitions, along with new petitions that will be collected over the next two weeks, will put us over the number needed to present the City Council with the option of repealing the liquor ordinance or placing it before the voters this fall.”
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Under current city law, a liquor license application must obtain the consent of a majority of property owners within a 250-foot zone. Each parcel within that zone gets one vote.
On April 28, the Kansas City Council passed an ordinance to change how consenters to new liquor licenses get counted. It seeks to limit property owners to no more than 10 percent of the consents within the 250-foot zone.
That ordinance, which cannot go into effect because of the outstanding petition, was meant to limit the influence that large property owners can have on liquor license applications.
Recent liquor license applicants, particularly those in the Crossroads Arts District, have complained that certain property owners with extensive holdings effectively have veto power over their business plans.
Tom’s Town, a new distillery at 1701 Main St., says Crossroads property owner Brad Nicholson imposed several restrictions on the business before consenting to the distillery’s liquor license application.
Nicholson, who owns several properties near Tom’s Town, has said the distillery’s owners misrepresented the nature of their business and that he has relented on several conditions. Nicholson, who previously owned the building that Tom’s Town occupies, did not want to see the property become a bar.