Uncertain Future for Heights Dry Zone

Uncertain Future for Heights Dry Zone

A petition to allow the sale of take-home beer and wine in the dry zone of the Heights has received enough signatures to bring a local option vote on the issue in November, according to a recent article from Swamplot. In order to be put to a vote, the petition was required to receive signatures from the equivalent of 35% of the people who voted from the affected area during the 2014 governor’s election, which would have put the minimum number of signatures at 1,511. The petition quickly received 1,759 valid signatures (not counting gag signatures from upstanding citizens such as Seymour Butts, etc.) and was given formal approval by City Council. 


The petition was circulated by the Heights Beverage Coalition, backed by HEB. If the vote passes, the existing Kroger store in the dry zone will be able to sell alcohol for home consumption, and any future HEB store in the area will also benefit. It’s long been rumored that HEB has hesitated to open a new, larger store to replace the small, outdated HEB store on TC Jester because take-home alcohol sales are banned in a large swath of the Heights and the lack of alcohol sales would cut into profits. Heights residents have been asking for a new HEB for years, and it seems that many of us would be happy to get rid of the dry zone to make that happen. 


The dry zone currently doesn’t do much to eliminate alcohol consumption. While grocery stores and convenience stores in the dry zone can’t sell beer or wine, bars and restaurants still can, using loopholes like “private club” memberships given free to any patron who orders a cocktail. The potential repeal will not affect bars and restaurants, only stores selling alcohol for home consumption. 


The Heights dry zone was established on September 25, 1912 by a popular vote and covers an irregularly shaped area from White Oak Bayou to to 26th Street. (The image above shows the location and dimensions of the dry zone.) It was created shortly before the start of Prohibition in an attempt to protect property values when residents were concerned with the number of saloons starting to appear along 19th Street. 

For more information, please visit: http://swamplot.com/yes-the-heights-dry-zone-petitioners-really-did-collect-enough-signatures-for-a-