Brian Scott, Denton County Reporter
A petition drive is under way in Denton to legalize liquor sales in the city.
A citizen's group wants a November vote on the issue of opening up all sales of alcohol, including liquor in the city of Denton.
The group, Denton First, launched their petition drive last week with the help of consulting firm, Texas Petition Strategies.
The group was formed by several bar owners in the city, including owner at Dan’s Silver Leaf, Marcus Watson.
Currently Denton is only a partially ‘wet’ city allowing on-premise sales in restaurants and beer/wine sales in stores and bars.
Actual bars in the city have to operate as ‘private clubs’ where customers scan their IDs to join upon entry and then are allowed to buy drinks.
John Hatch of Texas Petition Strategies said the equipment, fees and taxes to operate as a ‘private club’ can amount between $2,000 and $20,000 per year.
Watson said many local bar owners don’t like having to ask and store so much of their customers’ information either; including name, birthdate and address every time you enter the bar.
The vote would also open up the possibility of liquor sales in stores within Denton.
Petitioners say that’s been a big selling point for many signers who would like access to liquor closer to home and who want to keep their money local.
"Most of the folks can also get on board just because of the tax revenue,” said Watson. “You know it's a growing city and we need the tax revenues."
Watson expects some opposition to the vote.
While petitioners said most people have been open to the idea, some have been against it, citing moral feelings towards alcohol or the issues of introducing more liquor options into a town with two colleges.
The petitioners estimate they’ll need 7,000 signatures for a spot on the November ballot.
As of Tuesday afternoon, they reported about 2,000+ collected; after just one week of circulation.