Fircrest voters dump “dry city” distinction

A Proposition 1 sign in front of Fircrest Town Center shopping complex is shown from October.
A Proposition 1 sign in front of Fircrest Town Center shopping complex is shown from October. Staff photographer

People looking to order a drink with dinner while in Fircrest won’t have to wait much longer to whet their whistles.

Initial vote tallies Tuesday night showed a strong majority of Fircrest voters was favoring an end to the city’s longstanding ban on alcohol sales by the glass — the last such Prohibition-era law in the state of Washington.

The ban, which applies to commercial zones in the city’s original boundaries, dates to the city’s 1925 founding. It does not apply to areas annexed into the city in the mid-1990s.

“There’s a number of things that still have to happen to be sure we do it correctly,” said Jon Rossman, co-chairman of the Committee for a 21st Century Fircrest that spearheaded the effort. “But the community has obviously spoken, and we’re excited about it.”

Only registered voters who live in the city’s original footprint were allowed to vote on Propostion 1. That amounted to 3,831 voters out of a total 4,486 registered voters in the city of 6,600 people.

Around three out of every four ballots counted as of Tuesday night supported the proposition.

However, that doesn’t mean restaurant owners in the excluded area can start selling drinks right away. City code must also be changed.

Fircrest code prohibits the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption at the handful of businesses along Regents Boulevard and in the Village Square Shopping Center. Interested businesses also will have to apply for a state liquor license.

The City Council is expected address the code changes at a Nov. 24 meeting. That’s when the council will review a recommendation from the Planning Commission that restricts hours of operation for businesses selling alcohol by the glass, and limits which businesses are allowed in the city. The council will also take public comment.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at 115 Ramsdell St.

Scott Clement owns Spring Lake Cafe and has worked since 2003 to overturn what he considers an outdated law. The change would have a positive effect on his business, which is located in the affected zone and currently can’t serve beer and wine by the glass.

He told The News Tribune on Tuesday night that dinner at his restaurant will likely expand once the change is official.

“We’ll probably get going as soon as we get the green light,” he said.