Bethel is one small, bureaucratic step closer to getting a second liquor store. In their meeting last Thursday, the city’s Planning Commission approved a Conditional Use Permit for ACC Liquor, provided that the store fixes a few parking issues at their proposed location on Bridge Street.
ACC Liquor will have to install barriers in their parking lot to direct traffic, and then lease additional parking from the Vitus Gas Station lot nearby. The business will only receive their permit when these conditions are met.
Now that ACC Liquor has their Conditional Use Permit in order, the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board has two businesses to choose from when awarding Bethel’s last available liquor license. Kusko Liquor received its own Conditional Use Permit last summer, and unlike ACC’s Liquor Store, Kusko is no longer being protested by Bethel’s City Council.
In their resolution protesting ACC Liquor last March, Councilmembers wrote that ACC’s proposed store location is already the site of many alcohol-related incidents, resulting in an “excessive” number of calls to emergency services. The Council has also voiced concerns about ACC achieving a monopoly on alcohol sales if they’re issued Bethel’s remaining liquor license.
Alaska’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board will evaluate both ACC and Kusko Liquor’s applications for liquor licenses at their meeting next month.
Bethel's new Planning Commissioner, Betsy Jumper, did not respond to KYUK’s multiple requests for comment.