Ban on booze running dry?

August 19, 2009 4:21:19 PM PDT
A battle over booze is brewing in the city of Friendswood. Some business leaders are trying to overturn a ban on alcohol sales in parts of the city, and it'll soon be up to voters to decide. Drinking a margarita during lunch isn't normally a big deal, unless you're on the dry side of FM 518 in Friendswood. Just ask Randy King, who had to join a private club to have a drink.

"It's kind of annoying," he said.

The stretch of FM 518 is known as Friendswood's old downtown district. It's a dry corridor, a place where alcohol sales are banned. The area is a short distance along FM 518 between FM 528 and FM 2351.

"I honestly believe it hinders Friendswood's growth by not being able to serve alcohol and I believe it kept some developers out of the area," said King.

Supporters of lifting the ban believe saying no to alcohol has meant developers and upscale restaurants have said no to Friendswood. Some say lifting the ban means providing Friendswood with economic opportunity.

"If you don't have the ability to sell alcohol, then you don't have the ability to attract the national and regional restaurant chains you need," said Kim Brizendine, who opposes the ban.

Alcohol can be sold elsewhere in Friendswood and surrounding areas. But city leaders say they want to keep citizens and their dollars in Friendswood.

"We want to continue to shop Friendswood first, to support our local businesses, both those existing and the potential new ones to come," said Friendswood Mayor David Smith. "And I think in the long run, even though some folks might be affected by competition coming in, in the long run, we'll all be better for it."

Not everyone agrees. Some want to keep things the way they are.

"I came here when it was a dry town and personally, I'd like to keep the whole town dry," said resident Marian Gordner, who supports keeping the ban in place.

The vote to decide whether to legalize alcohol in Friendswood's downtown district is scheduled for November 3.

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