Hoping for a Wetter Dallas


Yesterday I had the rare pleasure of signing a petition for something I actually care about. A woman was collecting signatures outside Whole Foods, and I initially assumed she wanted to mandate recycling, ban trans fats, or do something similarly objectionable. But it turned out she was pushing a referendum that would allow grocery stores throughout Dallas to sell beer and wine.

When I moved here, I thought the city's weird restrictions on alcohol sales were the result of complicated zoning rules. But according to a 2003 New York Times story I discovered after signing the petition, in the '70s Dallas voters "left three of the city's four precincts dry and made one wet." It seems that division, combined with zoning, explains why alcoholic beverages are available only along certain corridors. It has been surprisingly difficult to nail down the details. The city's Web site says liquor stores are allowed in "CR, RR, CS, central area, MU-2, MU-2 (SAH), MU-3, MU-3(SAH), MC-2, MC-3, and MC-4 districts." Thanks for clearing that up. 

A Web page promising exactly what I was looking for—a "Wet/Dry Map and List" for Dallas—came up empty. The Dallas Morning News  had stories about this month's wet referendum in Richardson, just north of here, but nothing on the Dallas campaign. According to the woman outside Whole Foods, they need 60,000 valid signatures to get the referendum on next spring's ballot. Assuming they're successful, I'd like to think most of my neighbors won't insist that I continue making special trips to buy beer, wine, and liquor.