Lower Makefield Township is the only dry township in Bucks County. But this could change as a result of a new effort to push for a referendum on whether the sale of alcohol should be legal within the township.
McCaffrey’s Food Markets CEO Jim McCaffrey joined State Sen. Steve Santarsiero and State Rep. Perry Warren for a press conference Friday at DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies in Lower Makefield Township. Together, they announced the beginning of a process to give Lower Makefield residents a choice.
“We’re here today to announce a process that will give the people of Lower Makefield a choice,” said Santarsiero. “It’s your town, it should be your choice as to whether or not this ban continues.”
Lower Makefield became a dry township after a referendum in the 1940s.
This is the third attempt in recent years to gather enough signatures for a referendum. Previous attempts came up short, but a change in the law will likely change the outcome.
Previously, the number of signatures required on a petition would be based on the number of people who voted in the most recent election. If 10,000 people voted, then 2,500 people would need to sign the petition for it to result in a referendum.
After a change to the law in 2019, only 500 residents need to sign for the question to appear. As previous petitions received far more, this means the question will likely appear on the ballot in the April primary.
As per the law, these signatures must be collected within a three week period.
Volunteers will gather on Jan. 26 for training. Then, the petition will be open from Jan. 28 until Feb. 18.
McCaffrey hopes to sell alcoholic beverages at the location in Lower Makefield. He said customers liked the “convenience” at the Newtown location.
A change in law would also allow restaurants like DeLorenzo’s to sell spirits.
Currently, every eatery in Lower Makefield is BYOB. The only exceptions are golf clubs, which are exempt.
When asked about potential negative consequences, Santarsiero pointed out Lower Makefield residents who want alcohol can already get it. They only have to go to Yardley Borough or pubs in Newtown.
Warren is helping to “facilitate the process.” However, he did not want to take a position on the issue as he does not drink or live in Lower Makefield.
Petitions will be available at several locations throughout the township, including McCaffrey’s. Volunteers will also go door to door.
More information is available at a dedicated website here.