Following a successful campaign for packaged alcohol sales in Plainview, NewsChannel 11 learns of a new effort to bring the same thing to Lubbock.
We've learned a group of Lubbock citizens is being formed right now, and their goal is to bring packaged alcohol sales to the entire city. The group has not gone public yet and preferred not to comment on camera at this time.
What we do know is that they're studying what it takes to get this issue on the ballot, and how to get that work done in the most efficient way, but state law gives them a small window of opportunity.
Right now, you can buy packaged alcohol within Lubbock city limits. That's because last November, city council approved annexing the area known as "the strip", but it didn't open up the rest of the city to packaged sales. That requires an election and thousands of signatures.
Once a petition gets started, a group has 60 days to gather names, representing 35 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election. In Lubbock, that number comes to about 18,700, meaning a group would have to pull in 300 signatures a day.
There is another way to expand alcohol sales in Lubbock, by the glass, not on shelves.
"In the early 1970's an area was voted on by the public, illustrated by this purple line; we have annexed areas outside that line since the 70's; as new businesses go into those areas, a restaurateur cannot get a mixed beverage permit," Lubbock's Director of Planning Randy Henson said.
For example, Henson says some establishments on 98th Street cannot serve alcohol, unless they operate under a private club license, requiring you to get a membership. He says that's unfair to new businesses wanting to compete with those in current boundaries.
"From my position, I don't advocate packaged sales being included in this discussion, but I do think that a valid petition would benefit creating a level playing field for those entrepreneurs that are inside and outside of that original boundary," Henson said.
That would also require an election and thousands of signatures.
Is there enough support in Lubbock to even start a petition? According to a recent, scientific study, there is.
This summer, Listen Lubbock sent out a survey to 8,000 residents. It had several questions about the city's proposed bond election, but it also asked folks their opinion on alcohol sales in the city.
We found out 67 percent of those who responded favored alcohol in Lubbock. However, about three years ago, a petition to legalize sales in two parts of the city failed.
Plainview Voters Say Yes to Alcohol