EDITORIAL: Alcohol decisions belong with Broadway residents

Jul. 27, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

This week, the Broadway Board of Town Commissioners voted unanimously to place an alcohol referendum on the November ballot.

The referendum includes four distinct issues, each independent of the others. Broadway voters will decide:

• Whether restaurants can serve beer and other malt beverages;

• Whether they can serve wine;

• Whether they can serve mixed drinks;

• Whether an ABC store should be allowed within town limits.

As it stands, only Broadway’s grocery stores and gas stations are allowed to sell beer and wine.

Mayor Donald Andrews said this week, “It’s a considerable disadvantage trying to attract folks to the restaurants. ... The board has voted to put it on the ballot, and now it’s up to the public.”

When municipalities face alcohol-related issues on election ballots, you can bet there’ll be spirited debate about the pros and cons of the options. Some restaurant owners (as well as their patrons) would like the opportunity to see alcohol added to local menus in order to boost business and keep prospective customers who enjoy a drink from taking their business elsewhere. Some may prefer to keep Broadway’s restaurants alcohol-free.

So it’s appropriate the choice will be left with Broadway’s people. We encourage town residents to stay informed, give arguments on both sides careful consideration and exercise their right to be heard on this issue — one of the more significant matters they’ve been asked to decide of late.

Broadway remains a quaint community, one that reminds us of days gone by and that idyllic setting we know as Mayberry from the “Andy Griffith Show.”

But Broadway has seen its share of changes since the last a similar alcohol vote that was defeated in 1995. There’s a Walmart Express coming to town, and plenty of other businesses have as well. New homes are being built in the community, too, as more people make their home there.

The Broadway town board did the right thing in putting this proposal on the ballot — placing trust in citizens to help chart a course for Broadway’s future.