Fayetteville moves closer to Sunday alcohol sales with successful petition drive

A refrigerated beer case is shown in this 2016 photo taken during a media tour of Whole Foods Market before the store’s grand opening in Fayetteville (Flyer photo/Todd Gill, File)

FAYETTEVILLE — The city is one step closer to having Sunday alcohol sales placed on the November ballot this year.

The City Clerk’s office has verified that the petition campaign by the Walmart-backed group Keep Our Dollars in Fayetteville has met the required signature threshold.

It’s now up to the City Council to formally call for the issue to be placed on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

In Arkansas, cities can individually place Sunday alcohol sales questions on the ballot if enough signatures are collected in the months leading up to an election.

Keep our Dollars in Fayetteville needed to submit just under 4,200 signatures to get the process started. That number represents 15% of the total number of votes cast by Fayetteville residents in the previous governor’s election, as required by state law.

The clerk’s office has verified 4,276 signatures, according to a memo to council members from City Attorney Kit Williams.

State law stipulates that the sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption can only occur between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight on Sundays, which is what the language of the Fayetteville petition stated would be asked of voters.

In March, 70% of voters in Greenland approved Sunday alcohol sales during the primary election.

These cities allow off-premises alcohol sales on Sundays in Northwest Arkansas:Benton County
Avoca
Bentonville
Garfield
Gentry
Pea Ridge
Rogers

Washington County
Greenland
Springdale
Tontitown

In 2022, a similar measure passed in Bentonville with 74% approval, and voters in Rogers approved their Sunday sales ballot with 71% of the votes. The City of Avoca approved Sunday sales by 71% in 2017. Four years later in 2021, Garfield and Pea Ridge voters each approved Sunday sales with 66% approval.

Springdale and Tontitown have had Sunday sales since 2012.

The City Council will discuss the issue at its next regular meeting on July 16.