Town Of Archer Lodge Considering Alcohol Sales Referendum

(Left to right) Archer Lodge Mayor Michael Gordon listens to town attorney Chip Hewett explain the process of placing an alcohol referendum on the Nov. 2016 ballot. WTSB Photo

Residents in Johnston County’s newest town could vote in November on whether to allow alcohol sales at businesses and restaurants, even though the town currently doesn’t have a restaurant within the city limits.

Monday night, the Archer Lodge Town Council discussed the possible referendum. 

Town attorney Chip Hewett said the only way the issue could go before voters is a petition signed by 35 percent of all registered voters in Archer Lodge or a vote by the Town Council requesting the Board of Elections place the issue on the ballot. 

Hewett said technically, Johnston County is still a dry county, and the county is currently not inclined to vote on alcohol sales.  However, individual towns have approved referendums allowing the sale. 

Hewett said the town would need to make a decision no later than April. Mayor Mike Gordon scheduled additional discussion on the topic during a planned February work session. 

There are several options Archer Lodge could place on the ballot including the on-premise sale only of malt beverages, on-premise and off-premise sale of malt beverages, off-premise sale only of malt beverages, the sale of unfortified wines, the sale of mixed beverages by motels and restaurants, and a ballot for or against an ABC Store.

Councilman Matthew Mulhollem said he believes turnout should be good for a referendum in November. 

Mayor Michael Gordon says while the 6 year-old town currently doesn’t have a chain restaurant, by approving alcohol sales now it may encourage a business to locate within the town limits in the future.