ABC Board to consider two Bethel liquor license applications

BNC Kipusvik facility, the proposed Bethel Spirits site. (Photo by Myka Kernak / KYUK)
BNC Kipusvik facility, the proposed Bethel Spirits site. (Photo by Myka Kernak / KYUK)

On Thursday, the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will review two Bethel liquor license applications—one for AC Quickstop and another for Bethel Native Corporation. Bethel has not had a liquor store for over 40 years.

The meeting will take place in Anchorage, and Bethel residents can call-in to listen and provide public comment.

Either applicant receiving a license is unlikely.

An ABC Board investigator measured the distance from the Bethel Youth Facility, where Lower Kuskokwim School District teaches classes, to the proposed BNC Bethel Spirits site. The length ran 145 feet 8 inches. State law prohibits a liquor store within 200 feet of a school, and Bethel municipal law prohibits a liquor store within 300 feet of a school ground.

Whether or not the youth facility qualifies as a school has been debated among Bethel City Council.

LKSD’s attorney says the facility is a school; the district receives state funding to teach classes inside the building; and the facility is included on the state’s list of public schools, according to the Alaska Dept. of Education website. Additionally, the facility is charged under state statute to provide educational instruction for children held in detention.

The AC Quickstop application also clashes with state statue. The Quickstop is located in a public housing division owned or financed by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and ABC Board Director Cynthia Franklin recommendsthe board denies the AC application for violating state law banning liquor stores within multi-unit residential housing developments.

Here’s the rundown for tomorrow:

At 9 a.m. the board will reconsider the Bethel City Council’s protest against the BNC Bethel Spirits application. The board first weighed the application in July when it rejected the council’s protest but did not grant a license.

Bethel City Council appealed the board’s decision, and the board scheduled a rehearing in Bethel for October to hear public testimony on the matter.

The Board then withdrew that meeting for failure to provide proper public notice and rescheduled the hearing for Nov. 19— this time without public comment. In fact, the ABC Board website says citizens who call-in to catch the meeting must mute their phones to not disturb other listeners.

Bethel City Council rescinded their protest against the application last week.

Following that hearing, the ABC Board will review applications from across the state, beginning with the Bethel AC Quickstop’s at 12:10 p.m. Bethel City Council also dropped its protest against that application.

The board will again consider the Bethel Spirits application at 2:10 p.m.

Mayor Rick Robb will be attending the meeting in Anchorage to represent Bethel City Council.

Public comment can be submitted by calling (907) 269-0350 or by mailing items to address 550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1600, Anchorage, AK 99501.

Members of the public can listen to the meetings by calling toll free 1-800-315-6338 code 69173#.

Public testimony for issues not on the agenda will be heard from 11:10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Individuals requiring auxiliary aids, services or special adjustments to partake in the meeting can call John Calder at (907) 269-0350 to set arrangements.

An agenda for the second meeting can be found here.