PLANO — The latest volley in Plano's battle over allowing liquor sales has everyone talking in Collin County, and there's big money at stake: $500,000 in annual sales tax revenue.
A new campaign claims Plano will be flooded with unsightly liquor stores if the measure passes. The anti-liquor forces claim their numbers are based on fair comparisons with Lubbock County, which approved liquor sales four years ago.
But the pro-liquor group calls those numbers outrageous.
A billboard at Trinity Mills and the Dallas North Tollway claims that if voters approve Saturday's alcohol vote, Plano could be overrun with liquor stores — 150 of them.
Save Plano spokesman Billy Horton, who is based in Austin, told News 8 they came up with that number by focusing on Plano's population and available retail space.
"The bottom line is, the population of Plano can only sustain so many stores," said John Hatch, an Austin-based spokesman for the pro-liquor group, Citizens for Economic Equality. "How they can come up with 150 — when that would be twice as many as Fort Worth — is just ludicrous."
Lubbock County has 49 liquor stores. Save Plano said if you include all the people who live in other cities near Plano, and factor in the city's one million square feet of available retail space, the number is not unrealistic.
"When you look at all the population of other cities, and you add all that up, it comes to 886,607 in population density all around Plano, which is dry," Horton argued.
Lubbock Chamber of Commerce President Eddie McBride is also upset about the ad. On Save Plano's website, it shows photos of 10 signs portrayed as Lubbock liquor stores. McBride said none them are actually in Lubbock.
"If anyone's been to Lubbock, they know we have a very conservative sign ordinance," McBride said. "But no, there's none of those signs that are anywhere familiar to me in Lubbock, Texas."
The anti-liquor ad is on a digital billboard, and is scheduled to run until Saturday's election.