Bethel protests 2 more liquor store applications

  • Thursday, March 30, 2017 8:10pm
  • News

BETHEL (AP) — Two more businesses in Bethel will not yet have the opportunity to open up liquor stores after city officials protested their applications.

The City Council on Tuesday issued protests against proposals to open liquor stores from Steve Chung and the Alaska Commercial Company, KYUK-AM reported.

Council members said Chung’s proposal to convert his auto shop into Tundra Liquor Cache could increase traffic in the area. The site has also not received the required permit to open a liquor store, although the city Planning Commission is meeting Thursday to consider issuing the permit.

Chung’s proposal was protested despite him urging the council to approve his application because of his ties to the Bethel area.

“I ask that in some ways you guys would support somebody who actually lives here, ensuring that some of that money stays here,” Chung said.

Alaska Commercial Company’s application to add a liquor store by the river was rejected for several reasons, including that police have responded to a high volume of alcohol-related calls in the area. Over the last year, police responded to 99 calls near the small boat harbor, nearly a third of which involved alcohol.

The council also opposed the company’s plans for a liquor store because of a clerical error. The Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board had sent the city notice of the application a month late, reducing the time the city had to review the application and residents had to comment on it.

“I’m asking the ABC Board to not grant the license until we’ve had our full time to go through our complete and thorough process and to give the people of Bethel the opportunity evaluate this completely,” said council member Leif Albertson.

The protests issued Tuesday came after Fili’s Pizza dropped its application to open a package liquor store last week. The pizzeria, which sits near a halfway house and a teen 4-H Club, withdrew its application after the city council issued a protest of the license in part because of the restaurant’s location.

Three businesses are still seeking Bethel’s third and final liquor store license. State alcohol regulators will consider issuing the final license on April 6 to Tundra Liquor Cache, Alaska Commercial Company or Cezary Maczynski, who has submitted an application to open Kusko Liquor.

The Bethel City Council has protested all the applicants.

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