North Side voters say yes to sale of beer and wine
Merchants claim new law is no cause for concern
— reported by the Houston Chronicle(1)
On Nov. 8, Pasadena voters approved the sale of alcoholic beverages on the North Side, roughly north of Spencer Highway.
Alcohol sales were already allowed on the South Side because it was annexed after Pasadena had incorporated as a dry area. The annexed portion was wet and stayed that way.
Last week’s election must still be canvassed by the Harris County Commissioners Court before the two propositions legalizing alcohol sales go into effect. At press time, the canvass was tentatively scheduled for today, said David Beirne, spokesman for Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman.
Under the two provisions that voters approved last week, grocers and convenience stores can sell beer and wine for consumption elsewhere and restaurants can sell mixed drinks.
The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce was the driving force behind the campaign for North Side alcohol sales.
Prior to undertaking a drive to gather petition signatures for an election, the chamber commissioned a telephone survey of registered voters. Among survey respondents, 64 percent supported the sale of mixed drinks in restaurants and beer and wine in grocery stores.
The ballot propositions passed by smaller margins.
Proposition 1 — beer and wine in stores — passed 52 percent to 48 percent, or 4,791 to 4,486.
Proposition 2 — mixed drinks in restaurants — passed 59 percent to 41 percent, or 5,539 to 3,830.
A Pasadena ordinance prohibits the sale of alcohol within 300 feet of a church, public school or public hospital. State law gives the city the authority to widen the prohibition to within 1,000 feet of a public or private school if the school’s governing body makes a request.
Before Pasadena merchants can apply for the city permit, they must have their license from the state commission, according to the city ordinance.
Obtaining a state license normally takes 45 to 60 days, if the application is filled out completely and correctly, said TABC spokeswoman Carolyn Beck.
By state law, restaurants that have not previously sold alcohol must post a notice of their intent to do so for 60 days before their application goes to commission headquarters. But restaurant owners can start the application process before the 60-day waiting period is over, Beck said.
One factor determining eligibility for a license is residency of the business owner, Beck said. Owners must be Texas residents for at least a year before applying for a license, she said.
I’ve lived in Pasadena nearly 15 years and I don’t really understand where the dry area ends and the alcohol zone begins… other than the string of bars and liquor stores that all of the sudden pop up on Preston or Richey or Spencer.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the rest of the city once this kicks in.