Officials in a southern New Jersey resort community where alcohol sales have been banned for decades will soon vote on whether restaurant patrons should be allowed to bring their own wine or beer to have with a meal.

The Ocean City Council, which last year opposed a similar measure, is due to vote Thursday night on an ordinance that would allow BYOB drinking in restaurants — except for those on the boardwalk.

If the council approves the ordinance, BYOB would be approved in time for the summer season.

But if they vote it down, BYOB supporters have gathered enough petition signatures to place the matter on the May 8 election ballot for voters to decide in a referendum.

Ocean City was founded as a Methodist retreat in the 1800s.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)