KC Council votes to end churches’ veto power for 18th and Vine liquor licenses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Churches near 18th and Vine will no longer be able to block bars and jazz clubs from opening nearby.

The Kansas City Council voted Thursday to get rid of churches' veto power. Under the previous city ordinance, a business that wanted to sell liquor by the drink had to get permission from any church or school within 300 feet.

Councilman Jermaine Reed sponsored the change. He said the ordinance was hurting redevelopment in the district.

The city is spending $27-million in the Jazz District on improvements designed to attract private investors. But some developers who've wanted to open restaurants or taverns have been stymied by a nearby church's opposition to their plans to sell alcohol.

Reed said 60 letters were submitted in support of the change, and he stressed liquor license applicants will still need to get consent from a majority of their neighbors in the 18th and Vine District.