City Council approves Alcohol Impact Area for Tacoma's West End

Tacoma City Council adopted an ordinance Tuesday aimed to curb chronic public inebriation by creating an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA) in Tacoma’s West End and North End neighborhoods. The ordinance allows the City of Tacoma to ask more than three-dozen businesses within the AIA to restrict the sale of nearly four-dozen cheap, fortified beer and wine beginning March 11.

Washington State law requires a local jurisdiction to pass an ordinance creating a voluntary Alcohol Impact Area and then monitor the incidents of chronic public inebriation or illegal activity associated with alcohol sales or consumption in the area for six months. If problems persist, the local jurisdiction can ask the Washington State Liquor Control Board to officially designate the area as a mandatory Alcohol Impact Area.

Tacoma already has two Alcohol Impact Areas: one in the downtown and Hilltop neighborhoods, created in 2001; and one in the Lincoln District, created in 2008.

In October, city staff told Tacoma City Council’s neighborhoods and housing committee that reported calls for service in the West End for alcohol-related incidents increased by over 40 percent in the past year, and four-fold since the Lincoln District Alcohol Impact Area was established five years ago. City staff also reported a request for the special designation was made by the West End Neighborhood Council and has received support from the North End Neighborhood Council, Central Neighborhood Council, Old Town Business District, 6th Avenue Business District, Tacoma Community College, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Public Schools, Pierce Transit, and Metro Parks Tacoma.

Fortified beer cans littered a transient camp near South 12th Street and State Route 16 in Tacoma's West End neighborhood last August, according to City of Tacoma officials. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA)