The City of Blanding, Utah bills itself as the “Base Camp to Adventure,” given its proximity to several of Utah’s national parks.
If you’ve just come down from a hike, however, don’t expect to wash your meal down with a beer. Blanding is one of the last few remaining dry communities in Utah.
That’s right – no alcohol.
It’s been that way for the last 80 years.
And it will be that way for a little longer.
Voters in the town of 3,500 voted no last week on legalizing the sale of beer and wine in the city. Sixty-six percent of the roughly 900 people who voted said the town is just fine without alcohol.
Robert Ogle is the city councilor responsible for the ballot question.
“My motivations were not ethical, they were not moral, they were not political, they were not religious, my motivations were the potential of economic benefit to this community of Blanding,” Ogle told KNPR’s State of Nevada.
Ogle said he wanted to know if allowing the sale of alcohol would help the community and if people in the community would want to allow it.
However, he said there was very little public debate about the issue. The majority of people felt it was part of their clean-living heritage, which was something they were proud of and didn’t want to change.
“They like their lifestyle,” Ogle said, “It’s that simple”
Those who wanted the change felt it was a matter of people deciding whether alcohol should be sold, instead of the government.
Ogle said there are two restaurants in the town and both expressed interest in allowing alcohol sales. One was too close to a school to be allowed to sell alcohol and the other closes at 3 p.m., which means any alcohol sales would have been very limited anyway.
Ogle runs a motel in Blanding. He says he has guests who ask about where they can buy alcohol. He tells them all the time they need to go “3 miles and 127 feet south to find alcohol,” which is outside city limits.
With that in mind, he doesn’t think the decision “will have much of an impact.”
Robert Ogle, Blanding City Councilor
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