Local News

3 Harnett Communities Will Vote 'Wet' or 'Dry'

Posted June 18, 2007 8:38 p.m. EDT
Updated June 18, 2007 8:55 p.m. EDT

— Buying beer or wine in rural Harnett County has long required a trip to town or across the county line. That could soon change, however.

Voters in Anderson Creek, Upper Little River and Johnsonville can head to the polls Tuesday to decide on alcohol sales. If a referendum passes, it would allow the sale of beer and wine — not liquor.

Gene Taylor says it's time his community makes it legal to serve up a cold one with suds. He says “yes” to selling beer and wine despite being a churchgoer.

Taylor is, he said Monday, a "full-blown Baptist.” Nonetheless, he’s for a referendum to allow selling alcohol.

“Why am I so much for alcohol? Look at the tax base. People are gonna drink anyway. We're picking up the cans.

In Harnett County, you can beer and wine only in the cities and towns. Anderson Creek is unincorporated, and alcohol sales have never been allowed.

Butch Abling said he thinks that is just fine. He's passing around flyers that say alcohol sales will bring higher crime and lower property values.

Bart Dillow, who manages Tiger’s Restaurant, agrees.

"If we put it out here, we're just gonna have more drunks on the roads. More bars are going to pop up, and our kids are going to be more in danger down here," Dillow said.

“We don’t need something that you can actually go three or four miles down the road to get,” Dillow said, referring to nearby Spring Lake and Cumberland County, which are wet communities.

North Carolina is sprinkled with dry communities.

In four mountain counties, you cannot buy alcohol anywhere, even within city limits. In 16 counties, most of them urban, there are no alcohol restrictions. In the rest of the 100 counties, there is an elaborate cocktail of local ordinances.

In Anderson Creek, supporters of change say sales will bring in tax dollars.

"I think it should go toward schools, and the rebuilding of roads, and different things to build this community up," Becky Foust said.

If the referendum passes, it would only allow the sale of beer and wine — not liquor. In addition to Anderson Creek, voters will be casting ballots in Upper Little River and Johnsonville.

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.