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Irving panel recommends raising alcohol-sales cap on restaurants


Irving, Texas. November 19, 2012

Irving’s fiercely protected limit on how much alcohol restaurants can sell could soon be increased after a vote late Monday. The Planning and Zoning Commission overwhelmingly recommended lifting the cap on the amount of a restaurant’s overall sales that can come from alcohol from 40 percent to 70 percent.

Commissioner David Palmer cast the sole dissenting vote. Two commissioners were absent. The mere discussion of a cap as high as 70 percent underscored a recent sea change in officials’ attitudes in a city that has frequently balked at loosening alcohol restrictions. But the council may not follow the commission’s recommendation.

The council directed the commission in August to look at loosening the ordinance, but council members at the time discussed raising the cap to 50 percent. Palmer, who supported a 60 percent cap, said the council isn’t likely to go beyond 50 percent because of pushback from constituents.

“There’s a political reality that comes into play here,” he said. Commissioners who supported a 70 percent cap said the ordinance is outdated.

They also said raising the cap to 50 percent or 60 percent could require future revisions.

“We don’t want to come back here five years from now, 10 years from now,” Commissioner Sushil Patel said. Restaurant owners, business leaders and tourism officials say the current cap keeps away the kinds of restaurants that residents, office workers and visitors want. They say the 40 percent limit stunts economic development.

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