It always amazes me that there are still cities that don’t allow alcohol sales in this day and age.
Absher is one of about 1,000 Pearland residents who have signed a petition to remove all restrictions on the city’s alcohol laws: opening up the possibility for bars, clubs and liquor stores within city limits. A group of residents is hoping to put the measure on the November ballot – they need to get almost 8,000 signatures by June 22.
Proponents say Pearland’s current liquor rules are unnecessarily restrictive and antiquated in a city that’s now grown to more than 130,000 people. They say tax dollars are unnecessarily going to nearby cities.
“It’s not stopping anyone from drinking in Pearland, it’s just putting that revenue into Houston or Friendswood or Sugarland,” said Kevin Murphy, a member of Leadership Pearland, a leadership program sponsored by the city’s chamber of commerce that’s spearheading the petition drive.
If Pearland gets its election, it would be part of a greater trend across Texas. In 2003, the state had 35 completely “wet” counties, or counties that had no restrictions on alcohol, and 51 completely “dry” counties, which banned alcohol sales, said Chris Porter, spokesman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
As of November, Texas had 49 completely “wet” counties and 10 completely “dry” ones, Porter said.
In 2007, Pearland removed a longtime restriction that required restaurants to register as “private clubs,” and patrons to sign up for those private clubs, to serve alcohol.
Now the city is looking to go even further. City councilman Tony Carbone said people visiting the city for conferences or other events “are not able to go out and have any drinks or anything.”
Removing restrictions would also help Pearland develop an identity as a city at a time when many of the new residents that have contributed to the suburb’s exponential growth look for entertainment elsewhere, like Houston.
“We want to have these things in Pearland,” said city councilman Greg Hill. “We don’t want to have to drive to Houston.”
Hill said most residents he’s spoken with are in favor of easing restrictions. But he said the hard part would be securing enough signatures to get it on the ballot, as many residents are not connected to local politics.
“The hard part is not going to be getting the vote to pass,” he said.
Anything that gets people more involved in their local politics is a good thing, if you ask me. I support this kind of effort on general principle, and I support it here. See this Community Impact story for more.