Brian Scott, NBC 5 Denton County Reporter
Lewisville is one step closer to legal liquor sales after a petition with thousands of signatures made it just in time to be considered for the November election.
The city of Lewisville is verifying signatures on a petition calling for an election to allow liquor sales.
City Secretary Julie Heinze said the petition was turned into her office Friday and her staff is working through the paperwork. If the city determines that the petition reached the 4,422-signature threshold needed then the measure would be eligible to go on the November ballot, she said.
Friday was the cutoff date.
Robert Bland, a public administration expert from the University of North Texas, said he thinks Lewisville won’t be the last city in the area to see a push for liquor sales.
"The consumption of alcohol has become much more common place," he said.
The last several decades have seen a change in public opinion on alcohol and hard liquor, especially in the urban areas, he said. Cities are also discovering the durability of alcohol taxes.
"It grows whether there's a recession or a prosperity, an expansion of the economy," he said. "It just seems to keep trucking up. The urban areas, I think we're going to see and are seeing a lot of changes in their views on alcohol and the revenues from those."
Bland said he wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see a complete reformation in the way the state handles liquor sales as attitudes continue to change.
In Lewisville, plenty of residents say they are either for or indifferent to liquor sales, but several say will likely be a fight before sales are legalized.
"Expect the opposition -- the opposition does have some credibility," Sean Owens said. "The stigma, the stereotype is, you see a liquor store here, then a liquor store there, and then, you know, it kind of downgrades the neighborhood."
Hard liquor can currently be bought in several nearby towns, including Highland Village, The Colony and Lake Dallas.
Lake Dallas store owner Kamal Anwaar said liquor sales in Lewisville would likely cost him some customers.
"The sales volume we have right now, the community right here cannot hold that much volume," he said. "Of course there's going to affect us."
However, his store, Shax, does fairly well, especially with the population coming in from Denton, and he is confident they would continue to draw customers.
"Our main asset is the customer service -- that's how we are competing with those next door or the other people," he said.
The liquor sales issue is likely to keep spreading through nearby towns, making new competition an almost certainty at this point, he said.
With the petition signatures in, the matter must go before the Lewisville City Council in the next month. Heinze said she expects it will end up on the Aug. 19 agenda.
Maryland-based Total Wine and More, which successfully mounted a similar campaign in Plano earlier this year, began the petition drive in Lewisville in June.