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January 18, 2020

Last dry town in Bucks County may finally lift its 70-year-old alcohol ban

Lower Makefield Township has been trying to change the law for years, but in 2020 they may finally be successful.

There are over 54 municipalities in Bucks County, but Lower Makefield Township is the only one considered fully "dry."

Since the 1940's the sale of alcohol has been restricted in Lower Makefield Township, a suburban town just North of Philadelphia. It is one of 600 towns in Pennsylvania that are dry or partially dry. 

Alcohol is not permitted for sale in grocery stores or restaurants in Lower Makefield and residents have been trying to change this for years.

The town has made multiple attempts to repeal the restriction, but failed. In 2017 and 2018, residents tried to change the law by collecting signatures for a petition to get the issue on a ballot. 

However, in these cases they were unsuccessful because thousands of signatures were required to earn their question. The last time they tried to change the law, over 2,000 signatures were required.

In a town where the population is only approximately 32,000, that is a big chunk of votes. There is also a restricted amount of time in which they are allowed to collect signatures, another reason why the law hasn't changed yet.

Now a new law that took effect in September 2019 only requires 500 petition signatures, making a change to the law much more doable. Advocates of removing the alcohol ban plan to get the law on the April ballot for the presidential primary. The initiative seems to be spearheaded by local businesses, who would obviously benefit from the increase in profit that comes from alcohol sales.

It seems that the law is widely supported as a push for a change has been talked about for decades. Voter turnout is also predicted to be higher this year. 

Residents who want to turn Lower Makefield into a "wet" town, have three weeks starting from January 28 to collect signatures. Signatures must also be collected in person on certain dates. If you live in the town and want to sign the petition, you can go to the locations listed here on the scheduled signing days, or RSVP to their Facebook event.