NORRIDGEWOCK — Voters in Norridgewock are expected to decide in November if they want to change a Prohibition-era law that prevents dine-in restaurants from serving alcohol.

A special town meeting is scheduled for Nov. 2, and the ballot is expected to include two local questions.

Voting is set for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Mill Stream Elementary School, 26 Mercer Road.

Dylan Wentworth, who owns Wentworth’s Country Diner in Norridgewock with his wife, Emily, distributed a petition in January 2020 to change the town’s blue laws so that people might have a beer with dinner at his restaurant, but the effort failed to garner enough signatures. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

The town adheres to Maine’s blue laws that prevent people in some areas from buying and consuming alcohol at the same location.

One ballot question planned for November focuses on the sale and consumption of alcohol on Sundays.

The second question asks whether the sale of liquor and its consumption should be allowed on other days of the week.

The town voted decades ago to keep blue laws. The retail sale of wine, beer and liquor is allowed, but customers cannot consume it where purchased.

An effort was made in 2019 to change the town law, but officials did not receive enough certified signatures to move forward with a petition.

Town Manager Richard LaBelle said the state Legislature has since made changes that reduce the requirement for petition signatures.

“Petitions were circulated and validated, so the questions will be put to voters,” LaBelle said. “For the purposes of streamlining elections and minimizing costs, the (Select Board) elected to put these questions to a vote in November.”

The recent petitions were submitted by Dylan Wentworth, co-owner of Wentworth’s Country Diner at 347 Waterville Road.

If voters approve the changes, the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations would review licensing requests from applicants in Norridgewock.

Wentworth’s Country Diner is the town’s only year-round, dine-in restaurant. In the past, Frederick’s Dar-I-Whip has offered seasonal dine-in services but had to close this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the labor shortage.

Wentworth’s is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Wentworth said in 2019 that until the blue laws are removed, he and his wife, co-owner Emily Wentworth, will not extend their business hours.

“We just want to be able to serve beer and wine,”  Dylan Wentworth said.

Norridgewock now has four agency liquor stores and one retailer that sell alcohol.

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