Residents in Damascus should have another chance to vote on whether the northern Montgomery town should remain dry.
A bill is moving through the General Assembly that would allow voters in Damascus to decide this fall, through a ballot referendum, whether to allow the county to issue licenses that permit hotels and restaurants io sell beer and wine.
Current law prohibits the county’s liquor-control board from issuing to a business within Damascus a license to sell alcohol. The bill would repeal that prohibition then put the question to Damascus voters in November.
The House of Delegates has unanimously approved the bill, which would limit the issuance of a license only to restaurants in Damascus that seat patrons and contain no “recreational devices,” such as pool tables, video games and pinball machines i.e. sit-down restaurants that serve people who drink wine or beer with a meal. The bill is advancing in the Senate.
The legislature should pass the bill, over the objections of some in Damascus, and allow the majority to have its say.
The legislature passed a similar bill in 1996 and voters in Damascus shot down the measure in the ensuing referendum. That could happen again.
But Damascus has changed and grown in the past 16 years. Current residents should have a chance to decide the question.