The semi-shrouded Houston Heights Beverage Coalition released a statement today filling in some details on the group’s plan to legalize take-home beer and wine sales in the Heights’ dry zone. The initiative was floated quietly on Cinco de Mayo by way of 109-word newspaper legal notice; the group’s longer press release clarifies that it will try to collect around 1,500 signatures in 60 days to call a special election for residents of the no-longer-a-city of Houston Heights. That election wouldn’t change the zone’s ban on liquor sales (or the need for a private-club-workaround for folks intent on selling it anyway), but would allow grocery stores to get in on the alcoholic action.
Coalition chair Steve Reilley tells the Houston Press‘s Phaedra Cook that H-E-B supports the measure — adding that the chain is probably going to move into the area if the change passes. Reilley also says that other grocery chains are involved with the coalition, but doesn’t tell Cook which ones.
As to where would-be wet grocery stores might land in the dry zone, should the law be overturned: The Leader‘s Betsy Denson pointed out earlier this year that the party’s-over former site of the Fiesta Market on N. Shepherd at 24th St. falls well short of the 6 acres that H-E-B has previously said it requires when scouting potential new locations. But the double-decker H-E-B now officially planned for the site of the chain’s existing Bellaire store at 5130 Cedar St. (shown above) will squeeze onto a space just a smidgen larger than 3 acres.
The coalition has hired Austin-based election PR company Texas Petition Strategies to help collect signatures from dry zone residents and, if that goes as planned, to enthuse voters. If enough signatures are collected and then verified by the city secretary, an election would be called for this November.
- Group Wants Voters to Decide if Retail Beer and Wine Sales Should Be Allowed in The Heights [Houston Press]
- Previously on Swamplot: Comment of the Day: Excavating Election Procedures in the Lost City of Houston Heights; Somebody’s Trying to Legalize Beer and Wine Sales in the Heights Dry Zone
Photo of H-E-B at 5130 Cedar St.: Wayne A.