A group of business owners and residents aiming to revitalize Norridgewock have started a petition to put on the March ballot a vote to change the town’s liquor laws.

Currently, Norridgewock abides by the state’s blue laws prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol at the same location in town. The retail sale of wine, beer and liquor is allowed, but customers can’t consume the alcohol on the site where they purchased it. Restaurants and events, such as the Great North music festival in 2015, are prohibited from providing alcohol to be consumed.

The only exception to the rule is that some restaurants in town may sell liquor and wine, but not beer. It is also illegal for someone to have a wedding with a cash bar in their backyard or at another space in town.

Kerri Everett, 38, a member of the revitalization group and the catalyst behind the creation of the petition, said in an interview Thursday that the town voted to keep the Prohibition-era laws decades ago. Only through referendum can the town’s adherence to the law be changed.

“I have been part of a community revitalization group in town, and we’ve discussed things like how it would be nice to go out and have a nice dinner,” Everett said. “And this was a tipping point. Even if I’m not a drinker, a lot of people want wine and beer with a nice meal and right now, because of the laws, restaurants can’t sell alcohol.”

The same petition was circulated last year by Wentworth’s Country Diner at 347 Waterville Road in Norridgewock, Everett said.

“When the petition went around last year, Wentworth’s couldn’t get enough signatures,” Everett said. “The group has been working with them on this petition because changing the laws can allow them to expand their business. Alcohol is their tipping point. It drives up the income.”

The petition needs 218 signatures from registered voters in Norridgewock by Jan. 2 to be considered for the election in March. Everett said the petition has garnered about 109 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.

Norridgewock’s adherence to the blue laws was a source of confusion in August 2015 when organizers of the Great North Music and Arts Festival invested $10,000 to $15,000 in a beer garden, only to learn later that it violated the law. The beer garden was originally approved for the festival, but after its legality was questioned at a selectmen’s meeting, festival organizers were forced to forgo the idea of a beer garden and opt for a BYOB permit instead.

Everett said she and Wentworth’s have petitions on hand for those interested in signing.

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