Given the fact the issue is a city one, setting regulations based on a county's population may seem a little odd, and Jones agrees. He said, however, that historically some towns have petitioned ABC to have the number of awarded licenses lowered to better reflect a city's population rather than that of the county, although most cities simply take the figure for what it is.
The formula of one license per 2,300 people would not include stores wishing to simply sell beer. And there is no limit to the number of locations, there is one caveat.
Gas stations would only be permitted to sell beer if they maintain an inventory of not less than $5,000 in food, groceries and related products.
Restaurants, in the event of a "yes" vote, would tread much trickier waters. They, like the potential package stores and gas stations, would be able to apply for a liquor license 60 days following the verification of the vote, a process which typically occurs the following day.
Dining establishments wishing to sell wine must have seating for a minimum of 50 people, and 50 percent of their gross receipts must come from food sales.
Under the current rules, restaurants would not be able to sell liquor by the drink or in mixed drink form. For that, the city council would have to pass a special ordinance permitting the sale.
A similar ordinance also would be required to allow liquor or wine to be sold by the drink at hotels, motels, or inns containing a minimum of 50 sleeping units and dining facilities accommodating no less than 100 people. This rule would also apply to chain restaurants such as O' Charley's or Applebee's.
As is, Lancaster could only be home to bars selling beer only. For liquor to be sold in bars, yet another special election on the topic would have to take place.
All of the above mentioned licenses would have to gain local approval from a to-be-appointed Lancaster ABC administrator and then final approval by the state ABC.
The local ABC administrator is appointed by the city mayor, and Lancaster Mayor Don Rinthen said he hasn't looked that far ahead.
"(If the alcohol vote was approved), the first step we'd take would be to call the state and have them come in. We'll sit down with them and make sure everything goes by the books," said Rinthen.
The mayor said he's spoken with a number of other cities that have made the transition into being wet to get a better feel for what decisions he could be faced with if the alcohol sales pass. Rinthen said he may act in the capacity of ABC administrator for a one-year interim basis, just as a few other mayors have.
With the vote being just more than two weeks away, the town has been surprisingly quiet on the issue, said Rinthen, who has publicly abstained from giving an opinion one way or another on the referendum, aside from saying he had no problem with alcohol sales during his election. "I really can't tell you what's going to happen. I don't know. I haven't heard anything one way or another."
Rinthen said normally when he walks into local restaurants, diners are buzzing with the town news, but lately when he's done so, no one has really brought up the alcohol issue.
"It all seems pretty 'hush-hush.' You can't really get a feel for it."
Opposition to ordinance
The mayor cited Citizens Against Legalized Liquor - or CALL for short - as being the only group to really voice an opinion on any side.
The group has distributed a few lawn signs urging voters to vote "no" on Aug. 19.
CALL's first organizational meeting July 1 drew 161 interested participants, and Michael York, interim pastor at Lancaster Baptist Church and media liaison for the group, said CALL has continued to make progress in its efforts.
"We've gotten signs, made T-shirts, and gone door-to-door," said York, adding he's optimistic about Lancaster citizens voting down the measure.
"I'm somewhat sheltered in my own access to people. People have seen me, or read what I've said, and they do come about and talk to me about it. I've sensed a lot of people are wanting to vote it down, but I also know some people that don't. I think we're in a good position," said York.