The council "will discuss the possibility of passing a resolution to change the city's classification for two reasons," Rinthen said, one being the greater availability of state and federal grants. "And secondly, as a chef, I know first-hand that a first-class restaurant will not survive without alcohol sales."
Nathan Jones, with ABC, said Lancaster can qualify to put the vote on the ballot now, even though it is a Fifth Class city, a classification based on population.
"A Fifth Class city can get the vote for limited sales, which means a restaurant that seats 100 and has 70 percent food sales," Jones said. "The reclassification can open it up for package liquor sales or bars."
25 percent required for petition
For the vote to be added to the ballot, a petition would have to be circulated within the city limits and contain the signatures of 25 percent of the registered voters who voted during the last election. But even if the referendum passed, Jones pointed out that the area in question where the lodge would be built - 210 acres on Rogers Road in the county - would still be dry.
"The county would have to also vote for wet or limited sales for this to happen," Jones said. The only other option for an actual precinct-only vote within a dry territory is if a golf course existed on the lodge grounds, a winery or a National Register-listed historical site.
"The way I understand it, is if there was a petition circulated, then they will bring it to me to declare it as an election," Wilson said.
Wilson believes Garrard residents want economic development.
"I know it's going to be a controversial issue, and there are two sides to this. I'm elected to lead this county, and I'm going to do what the people want to have done. It's up to them."
Wilson said if the resolution is passed Friday by the City Council for the reclassification of the city, the matter will go to Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, who would introduce it Tuesday and start the bill on that side of the legislation process.
"Then Lonnie (Napier, R-Lancaster) will have to get it through the House," Wilson said.
"I have no agenda, politically," Rinthen said. "Only for us to grow economically. It has nothing to do with alcohol, it's growth and that's it.
"It's not mine, or the city's, moral decision to tell people whether they can drink or not drink. It's theirs to live their life how they want."
Last year, the state purchased 90 acres near U.S. 27 and the Kentucky River for a new state park. Later, it asked for proposals from private developers to build and operate a lodge with a restaurant and conference center on a separate acreage.