Alcohol Impact Area in the White Center business district?

Word just in from the office of County Councilmember Dow Constantine: A discussion is set to look at the “concept of setting up an Alcohol Impact Area in the White Center business district.” This will happen during the next regular monthly meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, 7 pm October 2 at the North Highline Fire District HQ. According to the announcement, “A representative from the Washington State Liquor Control Board will give a short presentation and will be available to answer questions,” and it further explains, “The Alcohol Impact Area (AIA) program was established by the Washington State Liquor Control Board several years ago. Liquor licensees within the borders of an AIA are subject to special restrictions as to what products they can sell. AIAs were established to deal with the problem of chronic public drunkenness and have been put in place in Seattle and Tacoma. Setting up an AIA requires an extensive neighborhood effort to document a neighborhood’s alcohol-related problems (police calls, aid calls, litter, etc.) along with a government effort to convince liquor license holders to sign “Good Neighbor” agreements. Because the White Center business district is bisected by the Seattle-King County border, we should also consider the concept of setting up adjacent AIAs in unincorporated King County and the South Delridge area (city of Seattle).” The invitation has gone out to “law enforcement personnel, community activists, and crime prevention experts on both sides of the city-county line to attend this discussion.”


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6 Responses to “Alcohol Impact Area in the White Center business district?”

  1. I have not noticed Pioneer-Square-style mobs of public inebriates around WC, but I’ll leave it to those who spend more time “downtown” than me to chime in on that. Do AIAs impact the bars as well as bottle stores (my limited impressions are that the visibly drunk folks are around the bars)?

    I guess I don’t have a stance one way or another on AIAs; I can see pros and cons. One concern that often comes up is the idea that “drunks” end up moving to bordering areas to get what they want. If that ends up happening, where are they going to end up?


  2. Rick I spend a lot of time downtown. There are two types of people that hang out in front of the bars. Street drunks that buy booze at the gas station and drink it in a paper bag, and drunks that buy their booze at one of the bars and go outside to smoke. A lot of people are just hanging out in front of the bars, a result of the smoking ban, and a brisk drug trade. Half the people in front of Brewski’s and the Locker Room, never go in there. It is just where other people are hanging out, so they hang out there with em.
    I think one good thing that would come out of the AIA is that the corner of Rox and 15th might be a little less scary. Also, if bar owners actually followed the good neighbor agreement, there might be less problems on 1 6th.

  3. It seems to me some of the shop folks trying to run non-alcohol based businesses could use some help. I get the impression that some of these business owners are very intimidated by those hanging outside their shops, or across the street.

    I was in a restaurant last Friday evening on 15th when a drunk came careening into the restaurant. He was met with kindness and graciously escorted right back out the door by the server, who told me that some drunks congregate in that area on 15th. I had seen a few here and there, but not near the cafe.

    He said it is very bad for business. Can’t argue with him. As a paying customer, if I hadn’t already been in the restaurant, I would not have crossed a barrier of a drunk to enter that place to eat. And, I am a highly motivated patron who loves this little place.

    These businesses need some assist and an inquiry into an AIA seems about right to me.

  4. I share Rick’s concern that an AIA in White Center could just shove the problem elsewhere. As this page of the Alliance of Beacon Neighborhoods notes, when Seattle instituted their AIA’s in downtown and Capital Hill, it resulted in more “transient drunks on Beacon Hill”.

  5. When people are coming outside of the bars intoxicated running over signs and thank god it wasn’t a person, something should be done. Wether and AIA is it or not, time will tell. How much money do we spend as a result of mismanaged bars allowing highly intoxicated customers loose on the streets after taking all their money. Employees wages to put in new signs, the sign it’s self, the cost of making it, Police services mulitple times daily and nightly called to the area, Fire services like wise above, litter pick up, graffitti removal and the list goes on. If the concern is people dispersisng else where, inform the surrounding areas about what we are working on.

    You say When Seattle instituted their AIA’s in downtown and Capital Hill, it resulted in more “transient drunks on Beacon Hill” … looks like they overlooked adding White Center on their page as another area bursting with transient drunks because of their AIA they implemented!

  6. Dick Thurnau Says:

    Alcohol usages is not only in Down town White Center,Lakewood Park/Hicks Lake has a large problem of illegal alcohol usage.(alcohol usage in KC Parks Is prohibited per KC ordinance) Plus students from Cascade Middle and Evergreen High Schools frequent the park which are located next door and the illegal alcohol useage gives a very poor image for these students to follow.Have taken numerous photos of these many empty alcohol containers found in garbage cans and our KC executive and KC parks excuse the photos are not proof as to who is the culprit.