From the Washington State Liquor Board:
“You are invited…
The Liquor Control Board is holding a public hearing in Seattle March 12, 2012 regarding the City of Seattle’s petition to open rulemaking for extended hours of alcohol service. Under the City of Seattle’s proposal, individual cities would have the ability to seek an exemption from the 2:00 a.m. deadline for alcohol sales at on-premises locations. Cities would be able to set their own hours, including allowing alcohol sales around-the-clock.
Prior to making a determination of whether to pursue rulemaking, the Board is interested in hearing from community members and leaders, communities surrounding Seattle, law enforcement at the local, county and state level, neighborhood and community groups and other interested parties. For more background information on the City of Seattle’s petition, please see the LCB website: http://www.liq.wa.gov/rules/extended-hours-rule-making
You are receiving this email because we want to make sure you have a chance to provide your comments to the Liquor Board at this hearing. Whether you support the City of Seattle’s request or oppose it, we want to hear from you.
Please join us:
March 12, 2012 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Seattle City Hall
Bertha Knight Landes Room
600 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104″
Note: Many citizens have requested a second hearing in the community, outside of work hours. This is the Liquor Board’s response:
“At this point we are scheduling just one hearing in the Seattle area. I’m the process of scheduling hearings in Vancouver, Tri-Cities and Spokane as well, one per city. Our Seattle hearing was scheduled in conjunction with Mayor McGinn’s office, and while it may not be idea in terms of timing, I do hope those that have comments on the proposal will send them to Karen McCall ([email protected]). Karen is tracking every comment submitted, whether for or against opening rulemaking, and sharing those with our Board. I do apologize again for the inconvenience of the scheduling. “
I have seen some comments about the upcoming hearing about extended liquor service hours, and it seems there is a lot of misinformation out there about what is happening. So I’ll attempt to explain it succinctly.
The City of Seattle wishes to extend liquor service hours in order to address the public safety issues that occur around closing times, and to create more economic activity.
Doing so is a two part process. The first part is what this hearing addresses.
There is currently a Washington State Liquor Control Board RULE (not law) that sets closing time for all bars at no later than 2:00 am. The City of Seattle has petitioned the Liquor Control Board (LCB) to change this rule to allow for local petitions to the LCB to permit on-premises (bars) only, liquor service after 2am.
The petition was approved by Seattle’s Mayor, a unanimous vote of the City Council, Police Chief, City Attorney, and the King County Executive.
The hearing on March 12, is simply about this proposed rule change. If the rule is changed, all that will happen is the City will then prepare a proposal to the LCB to allow it to have extended service hours at Seattle bars and restaurants. The rule change in itself will not actually allow any different hours or anything else for that matter.
This is a hearing only about the rule change. Once the City prepares it’s proposal, there will be several more hearings about the actual proposal and plenty more opportunity for input.
IF the LCB makes the rule change, then the Mayor’s office will create a proposal about extending the operating hours of Seattle bars and restaurants. This proposal will be vetted by the City Attorney and SPD, then forwarded to the City Council, who will hold hearings about it, and then vote on whether to pass it on to the State. The State will then get it, analyze it, and probably hold more hearings. Then a decision will be made. At some time after that, the City will write rules and create a license, and only after that, the City will start rolling out permits to those who apply, and qualify. There will most likely be rules allowing only well behaved establishments with no major liquor violations to get the license.
The City will have all sorts of conditions on the extended hours permit including what hours bars will be able to stay open until, which bars and where, requirements of a security and transportation plan, how much they have to pay, and where that money goes. The City is planning on proposing a limited term pilot project of extended hours, working with the State Patrol, King County Sheriff and Seattle Police departments to gather baseline data on violence, drunk driving and other effects of current closing times, and compare that to what happens when hours are extended. A decision will be made on whether to continue extended closing times once this data is collected and analyzed.
So this will be a long process with plenty of time and opportunities for public input, even after bars are allowed to extend hours and none of this will start for quite some time.
The impetus of this plan came out of discussion on how to lessen the impact of noise and violence around nightlife establishments. It was found that most of the issues around bars and clubs occur around the 2am ‘pushout’ when they close. Other cities, states and countries have successfully found that by staggering closing times, the issues subside. All of these other attempts at addressing these issues by extending hours has created a lot of useful knowledge on how to do so more effectively, and the City has or is currently putting those practices into the plan for Seattle. No formal pilot study has been done to accurately study the effects, and one great thing about the Seattle plan is that it is just a pilot project, and one that will collect accurate data so the effects of extending hours can be measured. At the end of the pilot project the City will then decide if extended hours permits stay the same, are changed to make them better, or done away with. The public will have the opportunity to weigh in at every step of that process.