• December 28, 2014

Group starts petition for liquor sales in Copperas Cove

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Posted: Sunday, May 4, 2014 4:30 am

COPPERAS COVE — The owner of Dave’s Ice House and other community members will have their first petition and information drive at 6 p.m. Tuesday to get a liquor option on the November ballot.

Petitioners will gather on the patio at Dave’s Sports Bar & Grill to collect signatures, owner David McBride said.

“This will be for awareness,” he said. “We want to let the city know what we are doing and see if we can get people involved.”

McBride and the other petition starters want to legalize the sale of all alcoholic beverages, including mixed beverages, in Cove.

“If (the petition) would allow a club like this to have hard liquor, I would be for it,” said Joaquin Garcia, a Copperas Cove resident visiting Dave’s Sports Bar on Friday.

Garcia doesn’t drink hard liquor, but his wife does. When they go out for drinks, they drive to Killeen or Harker Heights, he said.

Cove currently allows the sale of beer and wine, but not hard liquor.

There is a loophole, however. Businesses can start a membership club to sell mixed drinks. The Applebee’s restaurant in town operates that way.

But getting club status can be difficult for “mom and pop” operations like Dave’s, McBride said. The change in status would benefit his business, but it also could mean more revenue pouring into Copperas Cove.

“That would bring the opportunity of a liquor store and then opportunity of (more) restaurants,” McBride said. “The community would get corporate money in here. Allowing this type of revenue could draw a Chili’s or an Outback (Steak House).”

To get on the ballot, the petition needs 1,647 signatures from registered Copperas Cove voters, which is 35 percent of the number of voters who participated in the last gubernatorial election in 2010.

As a registered voter, Garcia said he would sign the petition.

“(Liquor sales) would pick up the economy in Cove,” he said.

In recent years, local petitions for alcohol sales have been fairly successful, said Sgt. Victor Kuykendoll with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

“In Coryell County, Gatesville was the last one, and it did pass,” he said.

Harker Heights, Killeen and Kempner all had liquor options on the ballot in 2010 that voters approved, according to the commission’s website.

“Generally in the 35 counties that I cover, there are about 15 petitions going every election,” Kuykendoll said. “I would say the majority are successful, because I would assume (the petitioners) know the area and what would be the tolerance for the area.”

McBride believes his group’s petition will be successful, he said.

“We are going to reach out there to the voters to see,” McBride said. “The only way we are going to get there is to let everyone know what we are doing.”

A Lampasas County petition for beer and wine sales for off-premise consumption also is circulating in Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 and Salado voters will weigh in on off-premise consumption sales Saturday.

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