This week has been full of election-related strife no matter which side of the aisle you’re on, but rather than add to the thousands of voices shouting an opinion about that, we’ve got different election news that you may have missed in all the hubbub. In addition to the divisive presidential election, the Heights voted on another somewhat controversial issue this week. The long-established Heights dry zone was brought up for a vote, and after months of campaigning from those on both sides, residents decided to abolish the dry zone and allow alcohol to be sold for take-home consumption.
Some decried the decision as detrimental to the neighborhood and sure to damage the historic charm of the Heights, while others were enthusiastic for the change to come so that HEB would open a long-rumored new, large store on Shepherd Drive. The beloved grocery chain was unwilling to open a new Heights location as long as the dry zone remained intact. The proposition passed easily, so it seems there were a lot more in favor of buying beer and wine in convenient locations than maintaining the historic ban.
The Heights alcohol ban went into effect in 1912, eight years before nationwide prohibition. When prohibition was repealed, the Heights ban stayed, leaving loopholes for “private clubs” but not allowing liquor stores or alcohol sales at grocery stores. That’s why you’ve probably had to fill out a membership card before ordering a cocktail at Down House or other cocktail bars in the dry zone.
The new HEB store is slated to open in early 2018 in the former Fiesta lot on North Shepherd. It will be on of HEB’s first few two story locations, and will feature parking underneath the store, in order to make the smaller than average lot size work without compromising store offerings. HEB spent an estimated $60,000 campaigning with the Heights Alcoholic Beverage Commission to help bring about this election result. Of the 10,000 people who were eligible to vote on the proposition, 7,000 voted, an unusually high turnout in an election where only about half of Americans cast a vote for president.