With 71 percent of the vote, Lower Makefield voters have decided to overturn a ban on alcohol sales within their municipalities.
Lower Makefield was the last remaining “dry township” in Bucks County. The ban was imposed in 1949.
More than 70 years later, 7,095 residents came out to vote in favor of undoing the ban against 2,905 opposed.
Volunteers circulated a petition during a three week period beginning in late January. It needed 500 signatures to add the ballot question for the June 2 primary election.
They gathered enough signatures within the first week. A total of 900 people would eventually sign it.
State Senator Steve Santarsiero, who lives in Lower Makefield, lauded the outcome. The senator pushed for the referendum in mid-Janauary, saying he would vote to overturn the ban.
“It’s great news for the township and a long time in coming. And obviously it seems like the vast majority of residents agree,” said Santarsiero.
Still, some residents had raised concerns about the potential impact of allowing alcohol sales. Santarsiero is not convinced.
“The sale of liquor licenses is allowed in every other town in Bucks County and it has not negatively impacted those towns. There’s no reason to expect that it would in Lower Makefield.”
Now, businesses within the municipalities will be able to purchase liquor licenses. Santarsiero has previously stated, based on Lower Makefield’s population size, up to 11 liquor licenses will be available to restaurants and grocery stores.
But these liquor licenses will not be created out of thin air. They must come from other municipalities in Bucks County. The Lower Makefield Board of Supervisors must also approve each transfer.