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Controlling the flow | Letter
I attended the May 2 Bremerton City Council meeting where a very interesting discussion occurred in regards to the expansion of alcohol selling and consumption on city properties.
Under certain controlled and limited situations, I am for expanding the available number of permissions granting opportunities when it comes to beer and wine sales and consumption on city properties. Events hosted and or operated by local, responsible organizations and groups that meet the application and operational criteria can and will most certainly benefit from the ability to serve and or sell beer and wine at their events. An increase in event bookings on city properties would also help to generate additional revenue for the city.
However, I was very happy to see that the discussion between council members at the meeting took into consideration various and important aspects that could possibly have negative affects before the council voted 8-0 to change the code for the Louis Mentor Boardwalk area only.
While the consideration of a possible fast tracking amendment was underway that would have included Bremerton’s Evergreen Rotary Park and Lions Park, Councilwoman Carol Arends brought up what I felt was one of the most important questions of the discussion. She asked if anyone had discussed any of this with the either the Rotary or the Lions Clubs, both of which have a considerable amount of vested interest and support in both of these parks? Those organizations are excellent city and community partners and they deserve a certain amount of respect. The right thing to do is to include them in the discussion first and verify their support before a council vote on such an impacting issue is taken.
Another question brought up by Councilman Nick Wofford had to do with existing Liquor Control Board restrictions on the proximity of alcohol service in relation to play grounds. I immediately had concerns regarding the city’s existing code enforcement abilities and how they would be able to handle these situations.
I am happy to see that the code change that was approved will allow the Blackberry Festival, one of Bremerton’s premier events, to expand or better locate their alcohol sales and tasting area on the boardwalk during their festival. The fact that the Kitsap Conference Center will also be able to apply for and make use of a special-event permit or license process through the council, will allow them to open up their marketing efforts and go after a larger consumer market by now offering more full service options to interested wedding and private parties.
I have seen that a certain amount of piece-meal work on this issue has already occurred through the council. What is needed is for each city venue to be discussed, researched and carefully decided on an individual basis. Throwing down a blanket city-wide change to simply save council time opens a door of potential logistical, operational and financial problems and issues that could and should be avoided if it only takes putting a little more time and thought into each decision.