The issue has been hotly debated in the town, where alcohol sales are prohibited. The Ocean City Restaurant Association says allowing patrons to bring their own bottles would help local eateries compete with restaurants in nearby towns that have liquor licenses or allow BYOBs. The association does not seek alcohol sales, either in stores or restaurants.
On the other side is the Ocean City Tabernacle and others who say that BYOBs would be a significant break with tradition that could jeopardize the town's appeal as a wholesome vacation destination.
The proposal to be put before voters would limit BYOB patrons to one 750ml bottle of wine per person or a six-pack of beer for two people, Bill McGinnity, owner of Cousin's restaurant and a driving force behind the petition effort, said Thursday.
The City Council will hold a special meeting Friday to discuss whether to have a judge clarify whether it is legal for the town to specify the amount of alcohol a BYOB patron might bring, Allegretto said.
The language of the question could mislead voters, he said.
"If we let [the question] go on the ballot the way it is, people will think this is how it will be," Allegretto said. But a New Jersey court recently ruled that a town could not limit the amount of alcohol a patron brought in, he said.
If voters approve BYOBs, the change would go into effect by the end of the year.
In Moorestown, the township clerk also has verified signatures on a petition that asks for a ballot question to allow retail liquor sales in the dry Burlington County community.
The question will appear on the November ballot, Township Clerk Patricia Hunt said Thursday.
A second question will ask voters if they want to limit liquor sales to restaurants at Moorestown Mall.
In 2007, voters overwhelmingly voted no in a referendum on whether to allow alcohol sales in the town without restriction.
Contact staff writer Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224 or firstname.lastname@example.org