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Responding to I-1183 - please share your ideas with the LCB and other communities

By Mary  Segawa, Washington State Liquor Control Board

Dear Prevention Friends,

With the passage of I-1183, the Liquor Board is now tasked with writing, modifying, and/or repealing the rules surrounding the private distribution and sale of liquor. We will be looking at both the RCW’s and the WAC’s (Revised Code of Washington and Washington Administrative Codes).

Due to a very short time frame, many of these will need to be done as emergency rules. To this end, we are open to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

First Request

As many of you know, the Initiative allowed for the approval of licensees with less than 10,000 square feet of retail space if the Board determines that:

...there is no retail sprits license holder in the trade area the applicant serves or proposes to serve;

...the applicant meets or upon licensure will meet operational requirements established by the Board in rule, and

...the licensee has not committed more than one public safety violation within the 2 years preceding application.

One of the difficulties of this is defining a “trade area.” If you have ideas on how trade area might be defined, please post them to this site. We will consider all suggestions.

Ongoing Actions

As you think about the impact of the initiative in your community, I also encourage you to use this site to share ideas on how you might lessen that impact. For instance, Mercer Island coalition members have already been talking about how they might begin working with potential retailers, compliance rate enforcement, etc. I will also be checking this site for other ideas that can be incorporated into our rule-making.

Thank You

A heartfelt thank you goes to all of you for your support of the work of the WSLCB. Your input and continuing partnership is important to us to further our shared goals of reducing underage drinking and increasing public safety.

pjepson (not verified)- Dec 12, 2011 01:06 PM Reply

Trade area is certainly an ambiguous term. I believe it could be defined as:

The geographic region in which a good or service is available and from which a company generates most of its sales. For example, a local retail store may have a trade area with a 50-mile radius. Also called market area.
For the purpose of this discussion, I believe the default is the closest 10,000 sq. ft. retail market engaged in the sale of any alcoholic beverage within the boundaries of a legally incorporated town, city, or other municipality.   


boots22 (not verified)- Dec 15, 2011 06:15 AM Reply

Thanks Athena for hosting this important discussion. A few disconnected thoughts on defining trade area:

If the definition relies on a geographic radius, say 50 miles as Paul said, then it might help keep new outlets from popping up in border towns near outlets in B.C., Oregon and Idaho. Similarly, maybe the "within the boundaries of a legally incorporated town, city, or other municipality" could be waived.

Maybe average travel time could be factored in. For example the trade area radius could be defined by the time it takes to travel (drive) to a store... this way, stores along an interstate could not open as easily as stores really isolated.

Maybe it could be defined more strictly in communities that increase hours of sale (pending Seattle Nightlife Initiative--not that a complete moratorium on extended sales hours because of the impact on health and safety because of 1183 is a bad idea).

Lastly, and although maybe requiring a separate piece of legislation and a little off topic: the ability to define trade area could open the door for a push to include a sliding license fee that increases as outlet density increases. (License Fee= $$$$ / #miles to next outlet). This way the private sector "pays" for increased density directly. Existing stores are impacted by new stores--mirroring the social impact of outlet density. Can't help but think of San Francisco's "near miss" on implementing an alcohol mitigation fee to offset the social costs (BIG alcohol mobilized and spent their way to a defeat of the measure). Or course, there would need to be a rock solid dedication of those funds to prevention, law enforcement, treatment, etc.