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WAC 314-12-215

Agency filings affecting this section

Alcohol impact areas—Definition—Guidelines.

(1) What is an alcohol impact area, and how is it different?
(a) An alcohol impact area is a geographic area located within a city, town or county, and that is adversely affected by chronic public inebriation or illegal activity associated with liquor sales or consumption.
(b) The board may place special conditions or restrictions upon off-premises sales privileges, liquor products, applicants, license assumptions or licensees that sell liquor for off-premises consumption (see subsection (3) of this section).
(c) The board applies a unique investigative and review process when evaluating liquor license applications, license assumptions or renewals for businesses located in an alcohol impact area.
(2) How is an alcohol impact area formed? A local authority (that is, a city, town or county) must first designate an alcohol impact area by ordinance and make good faith efforts for at least six months to mitigate the effects of chronic public inebriation with such ordinance before petitioning the board to recognize an alcohol impact area. The board must recognize an alcohol impact area before any unique review process, condition or restriction described in this rule may be applied. A local authority must meet certain conditions to achieve recognition.
(a) The geographic area of an alcohol impact area must not include the entire territory of a local authority. However, when a local authority designates a street as a boundary, the board encourages that the local authority include both sides of the street for greater effectiveness.
(b) Local authority ordinance must explain the rationale of the proposed boundaries, and describe the boundaries in such a way that:
(i) The board can determine which liquor licensees are in the proposed alcohol impact area; and
(ii) The boundaries are understandable to the public at large.
(c) A local authority must:
(i) Submit findings of fact that demonstrate a need for an alcohol impact area and how chronic public inebriation or illegal activity associated with liquor sales or consumption within a proposed alcohol impact area:
(A) Contributes to the deterioration of the general quality of life within an alcohol impact area; or
(B) Threatens the welfare, health, peace or safety of an alcohol impact area's visitors or occupants;
(ii) Submit findings of fact that demonstrate a pervasive pattern of public intoxication or public consumption of liquor as documented in crime statistics, police reports, emergency medical response data, detoxification reports, sanitation reports, public health records, other similar records, community group petitions, public testimony or testimony by current or former chronic public inebriants;
(iii) Submit documentation that demonstrates a local authority's past good faith efforts to control the problem through voluntary measures (see subsection (4) of this section);
(iv) Explain why past voluntary measures failed to sufficiently resolve the problem; and
(v) Request additional conditions or restrictions and explain how the conditions or restrictions will reduce chronic public inebriation or illegal activity associated with off-premises sales or liquor consumption (see subsection (3) of this section).
(3) What conditions or restrictions may the board recognize for an alcohol impact area?
(a) Restrictions may include, but are not limited to:
(i) Business hours of operation for off-premises liquor sales;
(ii) Off-premises sale of certain liquor products within an alcohol impact area; or
(iii) Container sizes available for off-premises sale.
(b) Product restrictions (for example, prohibition of certain liquor products or container sizes) must originate from a local authority's law enforcement agency or public health authority, whereas restrictions affecting business operations (for example, hours of operation) may originate from a local authority's law enforcement agency, public authority or governing body.
(c) Product restrictions must be reasonably linked to problems associated with chronic public inebriation or illegal activity. Reasonable links include, but are not limited to: Police, fire or emergency medical response statistics; photographic evidence; law enforcement, citizen or medical-provider testimonial; testimony by current or former chronic public inebriants; litter pickup; or other statistically documented evidence that a reasonable person may rely upon to determine whether a product is associated with chronic public inebriation or illegal activity.
(d) Restricted beer and wine products must have minimum alcohol content of five and seven-tenths percent by volume and twelve percent by volume, respectively.
(e) Upon board approval and upon an individual product by individual product basis, a local authority may restrict a product that is already restricted in another board-recognized alcohol impact area provided that a product is significantly materially similar (for example, comparable alcohol percent content, container size or liquor category such as alcoholic energy drinks) to products already restricted in its own alcohol impact area. Upon board approval and upon an individual product by individual product basis, a local authority may also restrict a product that is significantly materially similar to products already restricted in its own alcohol impact area. In both cases, a local authority must demonstrate to the board, in writing, the material similarities and need for product inclusion, but the board will not require a local authority to submit extensive documented evidence as described in (c) of this subsection.
(f) A local authority may propose the removal of a condition, restriction or product from its alcohol impact area's restricted product list provided that a local authority demonstrates its reason (such as, a product is no longer produced or bottled) to the board in writing.
(4) What types of voluntary efforts must a local authority attempt before the board will recognize an alcohol impact area?
(a) A local authority must notify all off-premises sales licensees in a proposed alcohol impact area that:
(i) Behavior associated with liquor sales and associated illegal activity is impacting chronic public inebriation; and
(ii) Existing voluntary options are available to them to remedy the problem.
(b) A local authority's efforts must include additional voluntary actions. Examples include, but are not limited to:
(i) Collaborative actions with neighborhood citizens, community groups or business organizations to promote business practices that reduce chronic public inebriation;
(ii) Voluntary agreements with off-premises sales licensees to promote public welfare, health, peace or safety;
(iii) Licensees voluntarily discontinuing to sell a product;
(iv) Distribution of educational materials to chronic public inebriants or licensees;
(v) Detoxification services;
(vi) Business incentives to discourage the sale of problem products; or
(vii) Change in land use ordinances.
(c) A local authority must implement these voluntary agreements for at least six months before a local authority may present documentation to the board that voluntary efforts failed to adequately mitigate the effects of chronic public inebriation and need augmentation.
(5) What will the board do once it recognizes an alcohol impact area?
(a) The board will notify, in a timely manner, the appropriate liquor distributors of the product restrictions.
(b) No state liquor store or agency located within an alcohol impact area may sell that alcohol impact area's restricted products.
(c) The board will notify, in a timely manner, all off-premises sales licensees in a proposed or existing alcohol impact area whenever the board recognizes, or recognizes changes to, an alcohol impact area (see subsection (7) of this section).
(6) What is the review process for liquor license applications, license assumptions, and renewals inside an alcohol impact area?
(a) When the board receives an application for a new liquor license or a license assumption that includes an off-premises sales privilege, the board will establish an extended time period of sixty calendar days for a local authority to comment upon the application.
(i) A local authority may, and is encouraged to, submit comment before the end of a comment period. A local authority may request an extension of a comment period when unusual circumstances, which must be explained in the request, require additional time for comment.
(ii) A local authority will notify a licensee or applicant when a local authority requests the board to extend a sixty-day comment period.
(b) For renewals, the board will notify a local authority at least ninety calendar days before a current license expires. The same requirements in (a)(i) and (ii) of this subsection apply to the ninety-day comment period for problem renewals. For the purposes of this section, a problem renewal means a licensee, a licensed business or a licensed location with a documented history of noncompliance or illegal activity.
(7) When and for how long will an alcohol impact area be in effect, and may an alcohol impact area be changed?
(a) An alcohol impact area takes effect on the day that the board passes a resolution to recognize an alcohol impact area. However, product prohibitions take effect no less than thirty calendar days after the board passes such resolution in order to give retailers and distributors sufficient time to remove products from their inventories.
(b) An alcohol impact area remains in effect until:
(i) A local authority repeals the enabling ordinance that defines an alcohol impact area;
(ii) A local authority requests that the board revoke its recognition of an alcohol impact area;
(iii) The board repeals its recognition of an alcohol impact area of its own initiative and following a public hearing; or
(iv) A local authority fails to comply with subsection (8) of this section.
(c) A local authority may petition the board to modify an alcohol impact area's geographic boundaries, repeal or modify an existing condition or restriction, or create a new condition or restriction. The board may agree to do so provided that a local authority shows good cause and submits supporting documentation (see subsections (2) and (3) of this section).
(d) Prohibition of a new product added to an existing prohibited products list takes effect no less than thirty calendar days following the board's recognition of a modified prohibited products list.
(8) Reporting requirements and five-year assessments.
(a) A local authority shall submit annual reports to the board that clearly demonstrate the intended effectiveness of an alcohol impact area's conditions or restrictions. Reports are due no later than sixty calendar days following each anniversary of the board's recognition of an alcohol impact area.
(b) The board will conduct an assessment of an alcohol impact area once every five years following the fifth, tenth, fifteenth, et cetera, anniversary of the board's recognition of an alcohol impact area. The five-year assessment process is as follows:
(i) Within ten calendar days of receiving a local authority's fifth, tenth, fifteenth, et cetera, annual report, the board shall notify affected parties of the upcoming assessment, whereupon an affected party has twenty calendar days to comment upon, or petition the board to discontinue its recognition of, an alcohol impact area (see (d) of this subsection). Affected parties may include, but are not limited to: Licensees, citizens or neighboring local authorities.
(ii) An affected party may submit a written request for one twenty calendar-day extension of the comment/petition period, which the board may grant provided that an affected party provides sufficient reason why he or she is unable to meet the initial twenty-day deadline.
(iii) The board will complete an assessment within sixty calendar days following the close of the final comment/petition period.
(c) An assessment shall include an analysis of:
(i) Comments or petitions submitted by affected parties; and
(ii) Each annual report submitted during a five-year period.
An assessment shall also include modifications that a local authority must make to an alcohol impact area as required by the board, or the board's reasons for revoking recognition of an alcohol impact area.
(d) To successfully petition the board to discontinue its recognition of an alcohol impact area, an affected party must:
(i) Submit findings of fact that demonstrate how chronic public inebriation, or illegal activity associated with liquor sales or consumption, within a proposed alcohol impact area does not or no longer:
(A) Contributes to the deterioration of the general quality of life within an alcohol impact area; or
(B) Threatens the welfare, health, peace or safety of an alcohol impact area's visitors or occupants;
(ii) Submit findings of fact that demonstrate the absence of a pervasive pattern of public intoxication or public consumption of liquor as documented in crime statistics, police reports, emergency medical response data, detoxification reports, sanitation reports, public health records or similar records; and
(iii) Demonstrate how the absence of conditions or restrictions will reduce chronic public inebriation or illegal activity associated with off-premises sales or liquor consumption (see subsection (3) of this section).
(e) An affected party may submit a written request for one twenty-day extension of the comment period, which the board may grant provided that an affected party provides sufficient reason why he or she is unable to meet the twenty-day deadline.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 66.08.030. WSR 10-19-065, § 314-12-215, filed 9/15/10, effective 10/16/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 66.08.030 and 66.24.010. WSR 99-13-042, § 314-12-215, filed 6/8/99, effective 7/9/99.]