Wine option petition circulating in Plain City


Council member and business owner, Kerri Ferguson, far left, and Plain City resident and Planning and Zoning Committee volunteer, Shannon Pine, far right, sign the petition to move the Local Liquor Option to the November ballot. Julie Weaver, middle left, and Mary Brown, middle right, show their support. All are Uptown Plain City Organization volunteers.

So this guy walks into a bar. He orders a glass of wine. The waiter says, “Sorry, sir, but you’re in Plain City. There’s a village ordinance against selling wine by the glass.”

What? Let’s clear up a few things.

While it is true that in Plain City you cannot go to a bar or restaurant, sit down, order a glass of wine, and actually get one, it is not true that there is a village ordinance against it. Despite the common wording used to explain the lack of on-premise wine sales, there never has been an ordinance about licensed permit holders’ abilities to sell a glass of wine.

So why can’t a person get a glass of wine, yet that same person can order a Bud or a Jack on the rocks? It all goes back to Prohibition.

Long story short, after the 1933 repeal of Prohibition, there was an opportunity to vote each precinct either “wet” or “dry” for certain alcohol sales. The Madison County precincts in Plain City remained “dry.” It was not until 1935 and 1973, respectively, that beer and spirituous liquor were voted in “wet” for on-premise sales.

No one has worked to secure on premise sale of wine. Until now.

Because part of Uptown Plain City Organization’s (UPCO’s) goal is to assist in enhancing opportunities for current and potential business owners, UPCO has made the decision to hire an attorney to guide the organization through the process of placing the Local Liquor Option on the ballot for the November 2015 general election.

UPCO is currently in the petition circulation portion of the process.

The question to be placed on the ballot would be, “Shall the sale of wine and mixed beverages, under permits which authorize sale for on-premise consumption only, and under permits which authorize sale for both on-premise and off-premise consumption, be permitted in Plain City,” West or East?”

Should UPCO be successful in placing the question on the ballot, and it passes, it does not automatically increase permits within the village. It will give three current liquor permit holders the opportunity to sell wines on-premise along with their other products, giving them the ability to fully utilize permits for which they are currently paying the full permit fee.

It will also give some current businesses the opportunity to expand to wine sales, should they choose, and will eliminate one roadblock to potential restaurant owners looking to the area for expansion or a start-up.

This is a small step but it was one UPCO was able to take. As time goes by, UPCO hopes to offer more benefits of all kinds to business owners for potential sales, marketing assistance, and financial assistance. So for now, keep an eye out for those petitions circulating around the area.

If you are a registered voter in Plain City, in the county of Madison, and would like to sign the petition, it will be available at the UPCO tent at each Farmers Market. Volunteers are also circulating the petition door to door.

And if the option is successful in November, we could all be celebrating with a sip of champagne in a local restaurant.

For more information, email us at info@uptownplaincity.com or message us from our Facebook page. And remember to always drink responsibly.

Julie Weaver is on the business enhancement committee for the Uptown Plain City Organization.

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