City Council Member Urges City to Be Prepared for Alcohol Sales - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/7/08

City Council Member Urges City to Be Prepared for Alcohol Sales

Lubbock is a dry city, but it may not always be that way. City Councilman Todd Klein wants the city of Lubbock to be prepared in case alcohol sales become legal in the city. A big question is if it were legal, where would alcohol be sold? On Thursday's city council agenda, there is a resolution to study current zoning laws to answer just that.

Many people have tried to change the alcohol laws in the past, but found the process difficult. "There's always an interest. We probably average in this office one to two calls a week asking what are the requirements, what's necessary, what are the things that have to be done to put the option on the ballot," said Dorothy Kennedy with the Office of Elections.

Kennedy says to put the issue on the ballot 35 percent of registered voters in the city of Lubbock would have to sign a petition requesting it be on the ballot - that's more than 15,000 signatures.

The resolution would help answer what would the city of Lubbock do if a petition was successful.

Right now the only place you can buy alcohol in Lubbock is at "the strip" on the south side of town. The proposed resolution examines rezoning in Lubbock. Allowing the sale of alcohol at places that have a state pharmacy license is one option Klein mentioned.

Rezoning would also require a petition to get the issue on the ballot, but Klein says he would like to see a change in the legislative process that would allow the city council to put an issue on the ballot without a petition. "I think the people should make the decisions for themselves, and I think it should be a home rule issue. I do think that the state law ought to be reconsidered," said Klein.

The resolution on Thursday's city council agenda has nothing to do with a push to change the process, but Klein says it's a step in the right direction. "Over 15,000 signatures within 60 days in going to be a real feat for anybody to accomplish. Hopefully what we're doing also highlights the need for that discussion and maybe helps facilitate getting that petition accomplished," says Klein. 

Klein says he put the resolution on the agenda because he thinks it is a good time to look into the possibility of changing liquor laws, but at this time no one has brought forth a petition.

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