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How petition for wet/dry vote could impact Henderson County

A state ruling on a local business has led to its owners pushing for something that could affect businesses across Henderson County.


Henderson County's Judge Executive wants to see more growth in a county he admits has gained a reputation of being non-business friendly.


But if someone approached Brad Schneider today, and asked for advice on where to open a business that sells alcohol, he wouldn't have an answer.


"Based on our experience with Farmer and Frenchman, I can't confidently say about a lot of precincts what their wet dry status truly is. I just can't do it, and that's disappointing, but it can be fixed,” Schneider said.


After two investigations ended with the Farmer and Frenchman being told it was in the clear, and then a third determining the winery falls in dry territory, owner Katy Mussat has started a petition, which if by the end of July gets about 6,000 unique signatures of registered voters (based on 25 percent of the number of voters in the last general election, it would force a question on November’s ballot.


"Are you in support of the alcoholic drinks in Henderson County, Kentucky?" Schneider said.


After prohibition, the state of Kentucky was declared wet, but individual precincts and communities had the option to vote to go back to dry.


"And the idea that we have a patchwork quilt arrangement of wet and dry precincts, or communities around the state, I’m sure some people would think is antiquated. I would tend to agree with those people, but it's state law,” Schneider said.


It's important to note if the petition gets the signatures, the wet/dry vote would affect all areas of the county outside of the incorporated cities.


Henderson the city would stay wet, and Corydon and Robards would stay dry. People in the cities would still be able to vote, but it would affect places like grocery stores in the county, both Farmer and Frenchman and Boucherie wineries, and a big one, Ellis Park.


And for people like Schneider who support the Farmer and Frenchman, getting the signatures doesn't mean the county would vote dry.


"It is a risk. It is a risk,” Schneider said. “And i certainly hope that the vote in November goes wet, because it gives us the most flexibility, and allows the most number of businesses to stay in business as they are now, and also offers opportunities in the future. 


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(This story was originally published on April 19, 2018)


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