Local business-owner petitioning for liquor-store election in Burleson
If Burleson business-owner Chad Johnson collects 5,430 signatures by February 5, the option to allow liquor stores to operate in Burleson will be on the election ballot in November
Burleson business-owner Chad Johnson is petitioning for a local option election to allow liquor stores to operate in Burleson.
Johnson, owner of Margaritas To Go and other Burleson businesses, has until February 5 to submit at least 5,430 Burleson registered-voter signatures on the petition to the Burleson city secretary. If he does that, the option to allow the sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption (liquor stores) in Burleson will be on the election ballot in November.
Approximately 5,000 verified Burleson registered-voters have signed the petition as of this writing, according to Texas Petition Strategies president John Hatch.
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Johnson is petitioning because he wants to open a liquor store in Burleson and offer people and businesses in the area a more convenient option than driving to Alvarado or Fort Worth.
Selling liquor in Burleson would also increase Burleson’s annual sales-tax revenue $253,961, according to Texas economist Ray Perryman’s study. Today that revenue goes to Alvarado.
Because Texas requires liquor-serving restaurants and bars to buy liquor in the same county they serve it, Burleson restaurants in Johnson County have to buy from the only liquor-store in the county, Alvarado’s Liquor Depot.
“Right now all of our liquor has to be bought from one person, and they basically have a monopoly,” said Jamie Collier, Old Texas Brewing Company manager.
Collier is appreciative of Johnson petitioning for and wanting to open a liquor store in Burleson because she believes Liquor Depot is overpriced and inconvenient.
Aside from the convenience, Johnson believes Burleson restaurants generally prefer to support local businesses.
“They’re [going to be] buying from a local that also goes and eats at their restaurants,” Johnson said. “In Burleson, that kind of goes a long way.”
Old Texas Brewing Company and other Old Town restaurants have been helping Johnson collect signatures on the petition from their customers. Collier said every restaurant in Old Town is supportive of Johnson’s petition.
The petitioning process has been “a lot of headache,” Johnson said. He pointed out he needs more people to sign his petition to allow this election than the amount of people who voted in the 2023 mayoral election (2,992).
“Once I got started, I figured out real quick why a grassroots campaign doesn’t work if you’re doing something like this,” Johnson said.
Rather than starting a grassroots campaign, Johnson hired Hatch at Texas Petition Strategies (TPS). Hatch also led the campaign to allow beer and wine to be sold for off-premise consumption (like at HEB) in 2006.
TPS’s role in the campaign has been to bring people in to get signatures by going door-to-door and setting up at local restaurants and other establishments like Kroger on John Jones.
TPS also verifies the petition’s signatures. One of the biggest challenges of these campaigns is getting people who actually live within city limits to sign, Hatch said.
Johnson said he hasn’t faced much opposition when collecting signatures.
“If they’re city-of-Burleson residents, they run to sign it,” Johnson said.
If Johnson collects enough signatures and Burleson votes to allow liquor-stores in November, he wants to open a store that resembles Total Wine, he said.
“I want to make it nice, not just for sales [but] because I don’t want that grungy, weird-looking liquor store,” Johnson said.
In anticipation of Johnson collecting enough signatures and citizens voting to allow liquor-stores, Burleson City Council established zoning for liquor-stores January 9.
The city will zone liquor-stores to be built by right in industrial zones and allow for special-use permits in general retail and commercial zones.
The council opted to allow them to be built by right in industrial zones because the industrial zones have regulations that’d prevent residential or commercial properties from being built adjacent to the liquor stores.
The council’s proposed zoning rules will also not allow liquor stores to be built within 1,000 feet of each other or within 300 feet of Old Town or interstate-highway 35.