In April of this year, the City of Everett responded to an increase in littering, trespassing, theft, and criminal mischief by enacting an Alcohol Impact Area. Essentially, this AIA targets a specific geographic region, and calls for retailers in the area to voluntarily stop selling certain inexpensive, high-proof alcoholic beverages.
If the voluntary AIA does not reduce the littering and other issues, the city can petition the state Liquor and Cannabis board to make the restrictions mandatory. The Alcohol Impact Area also affects areas in downtown Everett, near Paine Field and Cascade High School, through the full length of Evergreen Way, and the section of Broadway north of 41st Street.
Voluntary Ban Has Not Worked
The AIA has been in place for more than 6 months, yet only 15% of the more than 100 retailers who are in the Alcohol Impact Area have complied with the voluntary ban. Correspondingly, the number of alcohol-related incidents has remained relatively steady. As a result, Lt. Bruce Bosman of the Everett Police has called for the City Council to make the ban mandatory.
The litter problem is one of the major issues which Bosman looks to solve through a mandatory ban. The area around the Everett Gospel Mission is being cleaned twice a week by public works crews, who according to Bosman are “literally hauling out truckloads of debris.”
Will A New Ordinance Come Soon?
The initial ordinance was implemented with the hope and expectation that local businesses would work with the city during the voluntary ban, but that simply has not happened. The City Council is expected to hear a new ordinance on December 16th, and could be up for a vote as early as December 30th. This would simply direct the police chief to work with the Liquor and Cannabis Board, as they have ultimate authority over implementing such a ban.
Many community leaders have opposed this ban, as it only eliminates a handful of alcohol products from certain areas. Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher is one of the most vocal critics, commenting that “If they can't get the products on the list they'll drink something else” and adding that drinkers will “move on to areas outside” the AIA.
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