July 16, 2008
OLYMPIA - The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) today approved a resolution recognizing a second Alcohol Impact Area in the city of Tacoma.
The resolution restricts the sale of 44 high-alcohol, low-cost beer and wine products identified through city efforts as the products associated with chronic public inebriation problems in and surrounding the city's Lincoln District. The Alcohol Impact Area boundaries are Interstate 5 to the west, south to 72nd and 76th streets, east to Portland Avenue, and north to Interstate 5.
There are 62 liquor-licensed businesses and three state operated liquor stores within the Lincoln District Alcohol Impact Area. The WSLCB will contact affected licensees to inform them of the new restriction and request that they remove restricted products from their shelves. The list of banned products goes into effect on October 1, 2008.
"The Alcohol Impact Area option provides local government and communities the opportunity to partner with the state to address chronic public intoxication problems that affect community safety. I applaud this joint public safety effort," said Governor Christine Gregoire.
WSLCB Chairman Lorraine Lee said that Alcohol Impact Areas are becoming a popular option to reduce chronic public inebriation and its related problems. "It requires local government, community groups, and liquor licensed businesses to work together to use a multi-faceted approach. Board-imposed restriction on alcohol sales alone is not the 'silver bullet,' but it is a necessary element of the comprehensive solution needed to deal with the chronic public inebriation problem," said Chairman Lee.
Public testimony at a May 7 hearing included reports of positive changes from residents involved with the first Tacoma Alcohol Impact Area and their support for the second Alcohol Impact Area. The city listed concerns about the proximity of alcohol-related crimes near or on streets where children walk to school each day as one of the reasons it needs the second Alcohol Impact Area.
"These were important factors to the Board as it rendered its decision today that a new Alcohol Impact Area in the Lincoln District and the ban on certain beer and wine products are needed for the community's public health and safety," Lee said.
How Alcohol Impact Areas are created
State Alcohol Impact Area rules are provided in Washington Administrative Code 314-12. A local jurisdiction must pass an ordinance creating a voluntary Alcohol Impact Area. If chronic public inebriation and its associated problems do not lessen after the voluntary Alcohol Impact Area is created, the local jurisdiction may then contact the WSLCB to request the adoption of the area as a mandatory Alcohol Impact Area.
The Tacoma City Council enacted an ordinance creating a voluntary Lincoln District Alcohol Impact Area in April 2007. The city requested the mandatory Alcohol Impact Area in January 2008.
According to WAC 314-12-215(8), a Board-approved AAlcohol Impact Area remains in effect until either the local authority repeals its ordinance, or the Board repeals it after the Alcohol Impact Area has been in effect for two years.
Selling restricted beer and wine within a mandatory Alcohol Impact Area is a violation, which subjects the liquor licensees to a monetary fine or suspension of their license.
For more information on Alcohol Impact Areas, visit lcb.wa.gov.