A Jet Fuel convenience store on Barr Road in Lexington that’s set to open next month will be allowed to sell beer and wine for off-site consumption following a ruling issued Tuesday by a state administrative law judge.
The ruling by Judge H.W. Funderburk Jr. followed a public hearing Sept. 15 in which residents near the store protested the license because they said it would increase traffic near the station, located at the intersection of Barr and Rawl roads. The residents also said the license would decrease the value of the residential properties surrounding the site.
Residents also expressed concerns about the store’s proximity to Heritage Christian Academy and to First Baptist Church of Lexington, which hosts an alcoholics recovery program. Unlike the statue governing liquor sales, no law forbids a business from selling wine and beer close to a church or school.
“A protest is not a sufficient reason to deny an application for a license or permit,” Funderburk wrote in his order. A license can’t be denied based on claims of unsuitable location if the testimony of opponents “consists entirely of opinions, generalities and conclusions not supported by the facts,” Funderburk wrote.
Funderburk stipulated however that store owner Kulwant Singh and manager Gurjot “Gary” Singh must agree to operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“My clients are pleased with the decision and look forward to being good neighbors with the community,” Singh’s attorney, Kenneth Allen, told The State on Tuesday.
One of the residents who opposed the license said he believed residents had “good evidence or facts to support our position but none of it was allowed to be entered as evidence or even heard at the hearing."
Ron Pagoota, whose property is across from the Barr and Rawl roads intersection, said "it all boils down to the fact that we just don't matter. Our opinions and views just didn't matter and we knew that when we left the hearing last week."