Tundra Liquor License In Limbo After City Council Appeal Hearing

May 5, 2017

The Bethel City Council has placed the Tundra Liquor Cache permit application for a liquor store back on the Planning Commission's table, following Thursday night’s appeal hearing. The City Council hasn’t granted Tundra Liquor an appeal, but rather, sought further clarification on its initial denial of a conditional use permit.

Serving as the Board of Adjustments for this hearing, City Council members want the Planning Commission to do several things: outline their potential conflicts of interest; maintain a more complete and clear record of their decision-making process; and work more collaboratively on solutions to potential issues they may have with Steve Chung’s Tundra Liquor Cache application.


The Planning Commission has until June 2 to decide on Chung’s conditional use permit. Lack of such a permit is the reason the Council opposed the license application with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.   


The Planning Commission turned down Chung’s application due to the proposed location at Hoffman Road and the State Highway. According to the Planning Commission, the area has limited parking and safety issues with snow machining and four-wheeler traffic.


During questioning, Council members asked if a reasonable effort was made to offer a concession. Chung argued there hadn’t been, and City Attorney Patty Burley agreed. Burley was not representing City Council, but the Planning Commission, having assisted them through the application and appeals process. She says it looks like the Council is hoping for more of an effort to be made to negotiate.


“If they are able to come up with a couple conditions, would that perhaps alleviate?” Burley asked the Planning Commission. “So, they have some strict instructions to look at it one more time. If you stand by your decision make them clearer, because you didn’t make ‘em very clear, and if you have an ability to work with Mr. Chung, at least see if there is a possibility.”  


According to the City Council, should the Planning Commission reverse their decision, that decision may then be subject to an appeal.