Denton County judge invalidates Frisco liquor vote

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on May 25, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 25 at 7:23 PM

FRISCO — A Denton County judge threw out the wishes of voters in Frisco on Tuesday, saying liquor cannot be sold in the city.

Frisco city leaders opposed the sale of liquor, and were able to demonstrate to the court's satisfaction that the election was maneuvered on the ballot without the proper public notice.

All of this comes on the heels of Frisco spending nearly $1 million in tax dollars to gobble up a piece of land where the city's first liquor store was supposed to sit.

Majestic Fine Wines and Spirits won the right to sell liquor in Frisco, but it won't be opening any time soon.

That's because the property owner sold the land where the store was going to be to the city of Frisco, who decided that no liquor stores could open anywhere near it.

"It's a neighborhood services retail development, very close to a neighborhood. The types of development you would have there are schools and daycares and not liquor stores," said Frisco Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Cheney.

A daycare center sits next to the vacant land. Just to the north, there's an elementary school and to the west, a neighborhood backs up to the property.

"With the economy as slow as it is, it just seems kind of strange for them to do something like that," said Chris Hansen, a Frisco homeowner.

Hansen, whose backyard borders the property, said the $950,000 the city spent on buying the land is not a good use of tax dollars, especially when nearby towns like Little Elm are reaping the tax benefits of hard liquor sales.

"It's a free market. It seems strange that the city would get involved in something like that," he said.

But Byron McDaniel, who lives in the same neighborhood, applauds the city for the move. He said there's no place for a package store in an area with so many young families, and added that he believes Frisco's decision is backed up by fellow citizens.

"Hey, I'm on disability, but I'd chip in a few bucks," McDaniel said, if it was needed to combat the entrance of a liquor store.

Frisco — most of which is in Collin County — does not allow hard liquor sales.  But a Denton County election last year opened the door for booze sales in this tiny portion of the city that is part of Denton County.

On Tuesday, a judge said that election was invalid.

Frisco city leaders argued some voters didn't know they had to go to another polling place to vote on the alcohol issue. They claim the city was never notified about it, and it was advertised only in a newspaper that's not delivered in Frisco.

E-mail: sstoler@wfaa.com

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