Referendum challenging Provo brewpub license falls short

Provo • A citizen referendum challenging the creation of a license for brewpubs in Provo has narrowly failed to get enough signatures to make the ballot.

Organizers were stymied by the coronavirus pandemic and fell less than 200 signatures short of making the ballot in November the Daily Herald reported.

A signature count announced Thursday shows organizers gathered 3,019 valid signatures. They needed 3,157 valid signatures to get on the ballot, Supporters can still file for another recount.

“No matter which side you are on in the ‘brewpub’ debate, the city must respect the bright line of the law in determining whether a referendum petition qualifies for the ballot,” said Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “We recognize this is a controversial issue in our community, and we again appreciate the work of the sponsors, the county clerk and the city recorder on this issue.”

Many Provo residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which eschews alcohol. Opponents have worried brewpubs could increase reports of drunken driving and DUI-related citations and crashes.

If the referendum had succeeded, voters would have been considering the creation of a Class F beer license, which allows people to open a brewpub in any of three specific zones in the city.

If a majority voted against creating the Class F license, it would not have gone into effect.

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