Raleigh votes to allow liquor sales in city

Smith County, more specifically, Raleigh, will soon permit the sale of liquor.

A referendum held by the voters in Raleigh passed by a nearly two to one margin.  There were 202 votes favoring the passage of the sale of liquor compared to 106 who voted against it, according to Raleigh City Clerk Helen Bounds. 

Bounds said three inquiries have already come in about a permit to build a liquor store.  She said this is a bit premature, however, because the city board has yet to formally approve an ordinance to allow liquor sales in the city limits.

She said that most of the restrictions are mandated by the state.  It included issues like liquor not being sold within 400 feet of a school, church or a funeral home. 

Bounds said she anticipated that the board would start addressing the ordinance at the next board meeting.  It would then have to be published in the newspaper, which would state the implementation date.  She anticipated that liquor sales would not begin before mid-summer because of the time required for preparation of the ordinance and other requirements. 

Bounds said that no specific group was promoting the sale of alcohol.  She said there was probably more interest in having beer sales than liquor but that the problem with limiting sales to beer is that Raleigh did not meet the population standard to pass a beer ordinance. 

She said that any organized opposition had been primarily from churches in the area. 

Petitions are also circulating in Mendenhall to legalize alcohol sales there. 

With the passage of the Raleigh ordinance, there may be a change in the wind from the area’s traditional position as a dry county.