Voters support removal of Old Town Tomball liquor ordinance

UPDATED Nov. 11



Tomball City Council canvassed the election results at a special meeting Nov. 10. The election tallies were officially finalized and announced by Tomball City Secretary Doris Speer.



POSTED Nov. 5, 2:55 p.m.



According to unofficial results, voters have overwhelmingly supported the removal of the 1944 liquor ordinance in Old Town Tomball.



"Besides loving Cisco's [Salsa Company], it shows how much [the community] loves downtown Tomball and wants it to succeed," said Laura Wilson, owner of Cisco's Salsa Company. "It's more of a vote for that than anyone else. I think it's just wonderful to see that the people turned out, and we had a large support."



Of the 604 total votes cast, 497 residents, or 82 percent, were in favor of removing the liquor ordinance, Speer said. The election results are unofficial until canvassed at a special City Council meeting Nov. 10, she said.



The liquor law—enacted 70 years ago in an eight-block downtown area of what was the original city limits of Tomball—states restaurants and bars cannot serve beverages with an alcohol content of 14 percent or higher. Restaurants in the Old Town area are permitted to serve beer and wine with a license, but are not allowed to serve liquor without applying for a special private club membership.



With Cisco's private club membership, the business is able to sell liquor to patrons much like restaurants and bars outside of Old Town Tomball, however, it is subjected to more restrictions because of the 1944 ordinance.



Cisco's is in the process of applying for a mixed beverage license through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which could take up to 60 days for approval, Wilson said. In the meantime, Cisco's will continue to operate under its private club membership until the mixed beverage license is granted, she said.



Wilson said she hopes more businesses will be encouraged to open in Old Town Tomball since the liquor ordinance restrictions are no longer in effect.



"It really opens up the area to restaurateurs that want to make their dream come true," Wilson said. "As far as Cisco's goes, we are excited to move forward with more banquet rooms, catering and events."



To place the ordinance on the November ballot, Cisco's circulated a petition in July to gather the required 860 signatures of registered Tomball voters who live within city limits, Speer said. The item was placed on the ballot after city officials were able to verify 882 of the estimated 1,200 signatures, she said.



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