The 5 Corners Mini Mart naysayers have at the very least stalled the store's liquor license application, with a petition that closed with 173 signatures.
The decision from the City of Seattle to approve the application was pushed back to April 11; however, the city's approval or objection is merely a factor in the decision that will be made by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. If the city doesn't respond, the application process moves forward.
Owner Steve Park applied on for the license March 2-a grocery/liquor store license that permits only the sale of beer and wine. But the influx of letters of protest and support along with the petition prolonged the application process. Anytime an application receives a protest letter, the application will go before the licensing director for a final decision, according to Board spokeswoman Ann Radford.
As for the city's opinion, Radford said, "we take it seriously because it's their community." The location of the mini mart doesn't fall into an alcohol impact area, nor is it within 500 feet of a church or school, but Radford said community protests aren't uncommon.
Despite the controversy over the store, Park said business is up and running and he's received a lot of support from customers.
"A lot of people are coming in, supporting us, saying they're sorry about the people against us and telling me most of them aren't like that," Park said, "so in that sense I feel very grateful and thankful."
While Park waits for the decision on the liquor license, he is focused on making the store successful and welcoming to the community.
"I'm just hoping for the best, hope the pieces will fall where they will," Park said, "and we can get on with our lives."
But Park is not the only one caught up in the issue. Queen Anne Helpline has been pulled into the situation as well, not to the organization's liking either, said QA Helpline lawyer Michael Garner.
Garner said the petition, which gives as one of the reasons for its protest, "The store is adjacent to Queen Anne Helpline, which serves clients with addiction issues," misrepresents the organization.
"We want to emphasize the fact, in contrary to the representation, the implication stated in the petition," Garner said, "that our client base is not comprised substantially at all of recovering alcoholics. Secondly, the Helpline has taken no position on the petition; we're not supporting or opposing it."
As Garner noted, the Helpline's goal is to serve Queen Anne residents who have fallen on hard times, providing monetary support for monthly bills, as well as access to clothing and food banks.
"The Helpline is sorry its name has been dragged into this thing," Garner said. "The petition is spreading false rumors about what the Helpline does. It's just being used to further the petitioners' cause."
In response to the letter requesting references to the Helpline be removed from the petition, petition author Michael Tasch responded he would not do so without further explanation of the organization's reasoning.
"I can't in good conscience not go forward with the petition...I don't fully understand Mr. Garner's position," Tasch said. "I'm waiting to clarify what their position actually is and to hear about the basis of their complaint."
In a letter of response, Tasch asked for further clarification and impetus for the changes requested in Garner's letter. As of press deadline, QA Helpline had not formulated a response to Tasch's letter but Garner said it was in the process of doing so.
"We're still asking for our name to be removed from the petition," Garner said. "We just got caught in the crossfire and wish we weren't."[[In-content Ad]]