The inability to sale alcohol by the drink on Sunday in Belen is impacting the opportunities community leaders have to attract national franchise restaurants to the city, some local residents say.
A petition is being circulated in Belen for registered voters to ask that an election be held on the question of allowing restaurants to sell liquor on Sundays — or if the city’s liquor ordinance should stand as it is.
“We are not encouraging the use of liquor. But if we want to have restaurants such as Garduño’s, Chili’s, and others to locate in Belen, we have to change the liquor ordinance,” said Mary Lou Chavez, executive director of Belen-Valencia County Economic Development Inc.
“If we want to be more competitive in attracting restaurants that serve alcohol with their meals, we have to change our ordinance,” said Mayor Ronnie Torres.
The current ordinance, which does not permit alcohol to be sold by the drink on Sundays, was approved by the voters in 1980.
“If my memory serves me right, it was allowed prior to that election,” said Torres.
“We’ve gotten feedback from several national restaurants that they won’t consider coming here unless liquor sales are allowed on Sunday,” said Chavez. “The petition is the first step to getting the ordinance changed.”
“We have to have 10 percent of the registered voters living inside the city limits sign the petition before we can call a special election,” Torres said. “That equals about 500 signatures.”
Petitions are available at Hair Innovations, Baca Auto and at the planning and zoning office in city hall.