Voters on Tuesday will decide whether to allow retail alcohol sales in Benton County.
But if the issue is approved, there’s a lengthy process that could take years before all the liquor stores are up and running.
“I speculate that there might not be more than 10 in the next 3 or 4 years and it might be 20 years before we get 50,” says Benton County Judge Bob Clinard.
Only a certain numbers of stores will be permitted in the county.
“I think they allow one liquor store for every 4,200 people in population and our population is 221,000 in Benton County. So if you just divide that up I think it’s just over 50 that could possibly be allowed,” adds Clinard.
Clinard says it’s a lengthy process starting with the first step, which is finding a designated area where a liquor store could be allowed.
If it’s within city limits, that city has to approve the location and that includes not building near churches and schools.
“They got to go through a zoning process, maybe a public hearing process and that’s all got to be done prior to applying for a permit to get the liquor license to sell.”
If it’s not within city limits, the county has to approve the location as well.
Also on Tuesday voters in Springdale will decide on Sunday liquor sales and in Tontitown voters will decide on Sunday packaged liquor sales and liquor by the drink.