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No Resort Status For County Line Business Seeking To Add Package Store

By David Howell

COFFEEVILLE – The county line store on Hwy. 330 was back in the news this week when operator Ahmed Omar asked supervisors to consider establishing his business area as a qualified resort area to allow the opening of a package store.
    The request was quickly shot down for Double L Depot, as multiple supervisors voiced strong opposition to the request.
    A consultant working for Omar,  Mark Carruth, actually made the presentation during the “first Monday” supervisor meeting in Coffeeville.
    Carruth explained the county’s “endorsement” deeming the area resort would be only one part in the process as the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will make the final determination. The designation is necessary, the consultant explained, to allow the sale of liquor outside of a municipality.  
    State law requires package stores to be located inside a municipality unless located in a resort area.
    Carruth assured supervisors that Omar intended to operate the package store within the existing business and would not operate a bar serving liquor even though the resort status includes that option.
    “Do you think this is what the resort status option was intended for?” District Three Supervisor Lee McMinn asked.
     “That’s a good question and I will have to agree that the same thing occurred to me. Unfortunately that’s the only thing the state law allows us to do to pursue this business out there,” Carruth answered.
    Board Attorney John Crow followed McMinn’s inquiry asking if the area is a qualified resort area as defined by state law.
    Carruth explained that ABC officials will make that determination when Omar sends in the package containing the permit material.
    “What they want is the board’s endorsement?” then Crow asked.
    “They want the board to issue an order–if they are so-minded–that you are in agreement that it could be considered a qualified resort area,” Carruth replied.

The Response
    District 5 Supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman then pointed to setting a precedent, explaining that if county officials took this step for Double L Depot, it would open the door for similar requests all across the county.
    McMinn pointed to the Colonel’s Quarters in Lafayette County as an example of a business operating in a resort area to allow liquor sales.
    “But that particularly piece of property represented probably a several million dollar investment in the county…,” McMinn explained.
    “And in my opinion it more fits what the law is calling for where you can have an exception like that… I don’t think a rural convenience store meets the criteria,” McMinn said, before adding that he could not endorse the request.
    The conversation ended with Tillman directing his comments to Omar.
    “If we sit in here trying to establish something like that, they would run me and you both slap out of this country. I will just point-blank tell you like it is. That land out there isn’t developed for that type of resort stuff to sell whiskey. I had somebody stop me this morning. They said ‘man you better not have no whiskey drinking.’”
    “I am not asking for whiskey drinking,” Omar answered, referring to selling the product for off-premises consumption.
    “I am not going to be for the resort and that’s two (supervisors) out,”Tillman continued, counting McMinn’s vote.
    “But there are three more,” Tillman added.
    “I am not for it,” Board President Tommy Vaughn added, ending the issue.
    Omar took over the troubled store in February and received permits from the county to sell beer, both for off-premises consumption and cold beer for on-premises consumption in conjunction with his restaurant.

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