Philadelphia Leaders to Write Alcohol Ordinance

By: Candace Barnette Email
By: Candace Barnette Email

One of the first things the mayor and board of alderman in Philadelphia will have to deal with in the new term is an ordinance regulating alcohol sales.

Voters approved the sale of liquor in the city limits by an overwhelming margin Tuesday.

The referendum was on the ballot thanks in a large part to a grassroots campaign called Philadelphia for a Vote, which gathered the necessary signatures on a petition to get the issue on the ballot.

"We want to keep our tax dollars here. We want people to have options in Philadelphia," said Dawn Lea Chalders of Kademi, a founder of the effort. "We don't want them to drive 6.5 miles to the casino when we can keep that right here in Philadelphia. For sales tax dollars and for options for our citizens."

Although the referendum has passed, it's up to the mayor and board of aldermen to set the parameters for this new law. They can decide which venues will be able to sell liquor, and which cannot.

Mayor James Young says it's a careful process because the city wants to give options to the people without allowing neighborhoods to be overrun with liquor stores.

"So now it's carefully planning and putting the right pieces together to making sure that we don't go south with our regulations in this," said Young. "So that's going to be up to the board."

Depending on the regulations set by the board, businesses could potentially see a large revenue increase from this new law.

"With something like this passing, it's a lot of responsibility looking square at us," said Jeff Stewart, manager of 424 Blues Cafe. "And so we're going to take that on. We're taking this challenge on. We want to do things the right way."

Once the board agrees on the particulars for its liquor law, it will take 30 days to go into effect.

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