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This Utah city may roll back its decades-long ban on selling alcohol

Posted at 9:49 PM, Sep 18, 2023

HIGHLAND, Utah — After decades of beer and alcohol sales being prohibited in Highland, the city council is considering changing that.

Beer sales have been banned since the city was founded in 1977.

“This is something that has been on Highland City residents’ minds since the very beginning,” said city administrator Erin Wells.

Highland is one of 10 “dry communities” in Utah, according to a 2014 survey by the Utah Beer Wholesalers Association. Two developers with MNG Development are hoping to remove the city from that list.

“It was never our intention to seek out restaurants that sell alcohol,” said one of the developers, Joe Ham. “I don’t drink alcohol, Daron doesn’t drink alcohol.”

MNG Development presented to Highland residents at an informational meeting Monday night at the Mountain Ridge Junior High. The city administrator described the gathering as an “unusual event we don’t do often.”

The two men showcased their plans for a new shopping center.

“For a full-service dining experience — table cloth, waited tables — we have not had any [restaurants] come to us willing to say, ‘I’ll come and not sell alcohol,’” said Ham.

In order to change the city code, developers have to submit an application and the city council will make the decision. The application has already been sent.

“This is an interesting project, an interesting piece of property. It needs to be something really cool. It needs to be something deserving of the community that surrounds it,” said Daron Young, another developer.

Although their application for alcohol was for a specific commercial area only, the city administrator said the council expressed intent to take it a step further.

“They’ll first have to act on this application on this one area, but it’s very likely that this will then carry through and impact the rest of Highland, not just this one area,” Wells said.

She said the city council will vote on this issue the first week of November or in January. On Tuesday, they’ll determine which date to make the decision.

Over these next few months, they’ll be accepting “informal resident feedback” and sending out surveys.