Tag Archives: alcohol impact area

Fortified wines, some beers a bit harder to buy on Beacon Hill

Photo (not of Beacon Hill, as far as we know) by Steve Snodgrass via Creative Commons/Flickr.

Casey McNerthney at SeattlePI.com reports that a pilot program to voluntarily restrict sales of certain beers and fortified wines on Beacon Hill (previously discussed here) has gone into effect.

The plan addresses retailers such as convenience stores, who will receive “strong prompting” (from alcohol distributors and the mayor’s office) to prohibit sales of the problem products between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., seven days a week. The plan does not include bars and restaurants.

According to McNerthney, the city is providing a kit of suggested options for small businesses that have previously relied on the sales of fortified wine and beer.

Some Beacon Hill neighbors have been working on creating an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA) on the Hill. In an AIA, retailers may be restricted from selling certain types of alcoholic beverages that are linked to local chronic public inebriation problems. This is the list of products currently banned in AIA areas. The current voluntary plan would not preclude the city from eventually creating an AIA if necessary.

We don’t yet know which Beacon Hill businesses are participating in the plan, but we have asked the Mayor’s office for further clarification.

“High-octane” booze sales may be voluntarily restricted on Beacon Hill

Photo (not of Beacon Hill, as far as we know) by Steve Snodgrass via Creative Commons/Flickr.
Retailers in Beacon Hill, Sodo, and Lake City would be asked to voluntarily refrain from selling certain “high-octane” alcohol products during morning hours under a pilot program currently being developed by Mayor Mike McGinn’s office.

Under this voluntary plan, sales of fortified wine and some beers would be prohibited between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., seven days a week. Bars and restaurants would not be included. Community organizations would be notified if local businesses don’t participate.

According to a report by Casey McNerthney at seattlepi.com, the project will involve a partnership with several alcohol distributors who will encourage local retailers to participate in the program, and will keep track of the program’s progress. The program is still in the planning stages, but could be operating as soon as May.

The voluntary program would not preclude the city from eventually creating an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA) on Beacon Hill if necessary. In an AIA, retailers may be restricted from selling certain types of alcoholic beverages that are linked to local chronic public inebriation problems. This is the list of products currently banned in AIA areas. A group of Beacon Hill neighbors began a drive last year to form an AIA.

Neighbors attempt to reduce impact of alcohol on Beacon Hill

As usual, the 10/4 North Beacon Hill Council meeting was jam-packed with a variety of topics. The majority of the meeting was dedicated to efforts to organize an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA) in North Beacon Hill. North Beacon Hill neighbors are attempting to organize an AIA to increase public safety. To learn more, visit their Facebook page at Beacon AIAI.

AIA supporters believe that implementing an Alcohol Impact Area in Beacon Hill will increase public safety and lower costs to taxpayers by decreasing the need for first responders (Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department, etc) called to assist those incapacitated by alcohol. A first step to implement an AIA is to report all incidents of public inebriation and collecting/taking photographs of all alcohol related litter (especially cans/bottles of restricted brands).

Per the WA State Liquor Control Board: “The purpose of an Alcohol Impact Area is for local authorities to have a process to mitigate problems with chronic public inebriation or illegal activities linked to the sale or consumption of alcohol within a geographic area of their city, town or county, but not the entire jurisdiction. An Alcohol Impact Area is designated by geographical boundaries as defined in Washington Administrative Code Chapter 314-12.”

The WA State Liquor Control Board evaluated AIAs in 2009. Results are here. One interesting conclusion: people living in Alcohol Impact Areas reported that they were happier!

“Overall, in comparison to the results of the 2006 survey, people living within the Alcohol Impact Areas are now more positive as evidenced by the following:

  • 26% of people rate the overall quality of life in their neighborhood as excellent (20% in 2006)
  • ƒ

  • 60% of people say they notice chronic public inebriates in the neighborhood (69% in 2006)
  • 18% of people say that drug activity has increased (24% in 2006)
  • But, 28% of people say that crime has increased (23% in 2006)”

(Source: Seattle Alcohol Impact Area Evaluation Executive Summary, 2009.)

City of Seattle studies did not inquire whether residents within AIAs enjoyed a higher quality of life, but did discover:

“…A decrease in offenses related to chronic public inebriation: Adult Liquor Violations, Parks Exclusions, and Criminal Trespass. In addition, the sobering unit van also saw a 9% decrease in pick-ups over the same pre-mandatory AIA and post-mandatory AIA periods of time.” (Source: June 2008 Report on Mandatory Compliance Efforts in the Seattle Alcohol Impact Area.)

Department of Neighborhoods Program Manager Pamela Banks attended Tuesday’s meeting and cautioned that North Beacon Hill would face an uphill battle to implement an AIA. Resources and staff are currently stretched very thin in Seattle and the AIA process is difficult.

Other options to reduce public inebriation and increase public safety were discussed, including asking neighborhood businesses to voluntarily participate in a “Good Neighbor” agreement limiting sales of banned beverages and requesting increased enforcement of existing laws.

Beacon AIAI supporters hope to engage the community in efforts to make Beacon Hill safer. For more information, visit their Facebook page or email beaconaiai@gmail.com.

Alcohol Impact Area proponents organizing

Seen one of these in the neighborhood? (This one is actually in Maryland.) Photo by Guy Schmidt via Creative Commons.
A group of North Beacon Hill neighbors have concerns about the impact of public inebriation on the neighborhood, and have started a drive to form an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA). There are currently AIAs in effect throughout much of downtown and the University District.

According to the Department of Neighborhoods website, local jurisdictions are given more time to review liquor license applications and renewals inside an AIA, and the jurisdiction may also request that the Liquor Control Board restrict stores in an AIA from selling certain types of alcoholic beverages that are linked to local chronic public inebriation problems. Sales may be restricted entirely, or the businesses may be limited in the hours they can sell beverages “to-go.” By “certain types,” the city currently means this list of products: wines such as Boone’s Farm, Night Train Express, MD 20/20, and Thunderbird; and beers/malt liquors such as Keystone Ice, Olde English 800, Rainier Ale, and Steel Reserve.

Neighbors in favor of the AIA are currently collecting photos of the impacts of public inebriation on the neighborhood—specifically, photos of littered cans and bottles of those beverages which are banned in Pioneer Square and downtown, but are sold legally here on Beacon.

For more information on the Beacon Hill Alcohol Impact Area Initiative, see their Facebook page.

“Jungle,” Alcohol Impact Area on NBHC agenda

Here is the agenda for this month’s North Beacon Hill Council meeting, scheduled for Thursday, June 2 at 7 p.m. in the Beacon Hill Library community meeting room.

  • 7:00 Introductions, agenda
  • 7:10 Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith will update us on City plans for the greenbelt commonly called “the Jungle” and the Mountain to Sound Trail. Volunteers are needed to make this idea come to fruition.
  • 7:25 Question and Answer time: Discussion of City plans, and the displacement of homeless camps. Where will the long-term camp residents go? The increase in homeless street inebriates is causing a problem on N. Beacon—what is being done? Establishment of an alcohol impact area (AIA) on N. Beacon.
  • 8:00 Community announcements and concerns
    • Executive Board vote on officers
    • Nominations for Board Members
    • Other community concerns, including the formation of an Alcohol Impact Advisory committee
  • 8:30 Closure followed by Executive Board Meeting

The Beacon Hill Library is located at 2821 Beacon Ave. S. All are welcome at the meeting.

Mayor follows up on town hall questions

Mayor McGinn at the Beacon Hill Town Hall at Jefferson Community Center on February 15. Photo courtesy City of Seattle.
Mayor Mike McGinn this week sent out a follow-up email addressing unanswered questions that were brought up at the February 15 town hall meeting at Jefferson Community Center. Topics addressed include broadband access, future use of the closed Neighborhood Service Center, a possible Alcohol Impact Area on North Beacon Hill, and the SeaTac flight paths overhead.

There were some questions raised that we weren’t able to address that night; here they are, along with our answers:

1. What power does the City have to regulate Broadstripe and other broadband providers? The City of Seattle regulates cable television service for Seattle residents, and we also own the physical conduits through which the cables that provide that service travel, but the Federal Communications Commission has restricted the ability of cities like ours to regulate internet service providers. Where we do have power is in our contract negotiations with these companies. Our next opportunity to renegotiate our cable contract with Broadstripe will be in 2017. They have little capacity for significant service improvements, as they are now in bankruptcy (although still complying with the contract). The last contract renewal led the Department of Information Technology to look into creating a city-wide fiber-optic network in the first place. We know that there’s a huge need for faster and more reliable Internet access across the city, and that’s why we’re working on a business plan for municipal broadband.

2. Can members of the community use the old Neighborhood Service Center site as a volunteer-run community information center? The different departments involved are still discussing how to use the space going forward, and no decisions have been made so far. In the meantime, Department of Neighborhoods staff are using the space on a drop-in basis, and community groups can also make use of other meeting rooms in the library.

3. What will it take to make Beacon Hill an Alcohol Impact Area? As Captain Nolan and I mentioned on the 15th, the designation of an Alcohol Impact Area is something that’s done by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. More information about the designation process can be found here; links to studies of the effectiveness of AIA’s are here; and information about the processes that the City went through specifically in 2004-2006 are available here.

4. Is there anything that the City can do about flight paths going into and out of SeaTac? The Federal Aviation Administration regulates flight paths; the City, County, and Port don’t have direct regulatory authority over the airspace around the airport, but the FAA has been receptive to community input in the past. The Magnolia Community Club, for example, had a recent success when the FAA decided not to lower the level at which aircraft would be allowed to fly over Seattle neighborhoods. There will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the FAA’s Next Gen initiative, which will include re-evaluating flight plans that affect SeaTac and Boeing Field. Please E-mail me directly with your comments and concerns regarding flight paths over Beacon Hill, and I’ll be sure that we pass them along to the FAA. For more information about the Magnolia Community Club’s efforts, please contact Robert Bismuth at AirportNorth@gmail.com or 206-941-1923.

I hope the information in this E-mail is helpful; if you have input on how to improve our Town Hall follow-up going forward, feel free to contact Sol Villarreal in my office at sol.villarreal@seattle.gov or 206-427-3062.

For other opportunities to talk to myself or other City staff in your community please see our Public Outreach and Engagement Calendar at http://seattle.gov/engage/access.htm, and as always, please write to me with any questions, comments, or concerns that you have at mike.mcginn@seattle.gov.

It’s an honor to be able to serve as your Mayor; I’ll look forward to seeing you again soon.

Mike McGinn

(You can read a compilation of the February 15 town hall discussion here and see complete video of the event here.)