Utahns will vote on new mayors and city council members on Nov. 7, but residents in Blanding will have another item on their ballot: allowing alcohol sales within city limits.
Blanding is one of the few remaining dry cities in Utah, meaning it’s illegal to sell alcohol in town, though residents are still allowed to purchase it elsewhere to bring home.
“The real question before voters this fall is whether or not Blanding should allow beer and wine sales within the community,” said city manager Jeremy Redd.
Redd said the closest liquor store is 20 miles away, in Monticello.
Supporters in Blanding say it would help local businesses that rely on tourism dollars.
“A lot of those visitors would like to have a beer or a glass of wine after they’re done hiking,” said Redd, adding that some people also see the alcohol ban as government overreach, and are voting to repeal it for that reason.
Opponents of the measure cite concerns about drunk driving and underage drinking. But Redd said there’s another reason, too.
“Blanding has been a dry town for so long that it’s become part of the identity of the community. There are a lot people that feel like it sets Blanding apart a little bit, makes it unique, and they don’t want to give that up.”
Redd said the issue was too important to let the Blanding city council decide, so they’re putting it directly to voters on Nov. 7.