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Southlake Voters To Consider Legalizing Hard Liquor Sales

By Selena Hernandez, CBS 11 News
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Bottles are displayed on a shelf behind a bar. (credit: Oliver Morin/Getty Images)

Bottles are displayed on a shelf behind a bar. (credit: Oliver Morin/Getty Images)

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SOUTHLAKE (CBSDFW.COM) – Voters will soon take up an ordinance aimed to legalize liquor stores inside city limits, which officials estimate could generate $100,000 each in tax revenue.

In one of the most picturesque, affluent family communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, the contentious issue has uncorked some concern.

Residents take great pride in their 28,000-population town.

“It’s prestigious, upper class, family oriented,” resident Laurie Gault said.

Yet a proposition to allow hard liquor stores in the city has the community divided. Currently, only wine and beer can be sold in grocery stores and in stand-alone shops.

“The proposition is actually for the sale of all alcohol in Southlake, no restrictions,” Greg Wilemon, owner of Farpointe Cellar and Wine Bistro said.

Wilemon is leading the charge behind the proposition and said he would add liquor to his store. He said Southlake might soon lose tax revenue to surrounding communities like Colleyville and Roanoke, where voters approved similar ordinances last year.

“If a liquor store is going to locate to Southlake, they’re doing so under our standards that the planning and zoning committee has set for Southlake,” Wilemon said.

According to Southlake’s spokeswoman, if passed, liquor stores could generate potentially $100,000 a year per store. However, it’s a hard sell to swallow for those on the other side of the issue.

“Voting yes is voting for unlimited liquor stores in Southlake – with, really, zero citizen or council control,” opponent Leigh Wambsganss said. “In Southlake, they won’t have to go before council unless they want a sign variance or a brick and mortar variance – we won’t even know they’re coming until their doors open.”

If passed, liquor stores could potentially set up shop right in the middle of Town Square. This is stirring up mixed reactions because the city doesn’t require such businesses to have a special use permit.

“Honestly, I’m a drinker, so it makes it easier for me to get it here than to go somewhere else,” supporter Joe Prasathane said.

And opponents remained concerned about potential increase of illegal actions such as drunken driving in their quaint town.

“I don’t think it would be good,” Gault said. “The drinking and driving wouldn’t be good.”

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