- Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2015

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - Bethel officials are withdrawing their protests to two liquor license applications, reversing a decision last week to keep the protests in place.

The Bethel City Council voted 4-3 to allow AC Quickstop and Bethel Native Corp. to proceed with their applications, KYUK-AM reported Thursday (https://bit.ly/1Qlg4YW).

The council’s decision comes after a majority of Bethel voters chose to support alcohol sales in the last advisory vote.

“The people of Bethel have officially spoken,” said Councilwoman Alisha Welch, “and we need to respect their views and give the applicants a fair chance by withdrawing the protests.”

Bethel city code prohibits a liquor store within 300 feet of school grounds. BNC’s application calls for opening a liquor store in the Kipusvik building, located across the street from the Bethel Youth Facility. But whether the facility qualifies as a school has yet to be determined.

Councilman Zach Fansler said he believes the proposed location violates Bethel law.

“It really is an injustice for us as a council to not uphold our own code. We can do interpretation; we can uphold the code; we can change the code; and we’re simply not doing that in this case,” said Fansler.

Councilman Chuck Herman said he did not support AC Quickstop’s application because of the store’s proximity to schools in the area.

“This is a location that is going to see a very, very, very large amount of traffic from high school students, and it’s going to be an area where a lot of students have to walk by,” said Herman.

Both applications will be reviewed by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Nov. 19.

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Information from: KYUK-AM, https://www.kyuk.org

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