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Thursday, August 24, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Liquor board staff favors ban of sale of 28 beers and wines

Seattle Times staff reporter

A proposed ban on the sale of more than two dozen cheap beers and wines in several Seattle neighborhoods moved closer to reality Wednesday as the staff of the Washington State Liquor Control Board recommended that the board approve the ban.

The liquor board will make a final decision on the proposal at a meeting next Wednesday in Olympia. In brief comments Wednesday, at least two members of the three-member panel appeared inclined to vote for the proposal.

The ban has been sought for years by neighborhood activists and city officials concerned about litter, panhandling and other problems associated with street drunks.

The city's proposal would apply to two so-called alcohol-impact areas (AIAs): one covering downtown, the Central Area, Chinatown International District, Belltown and Capitol Hill and the other covering the University District. The new rules also would apply to Pioneer Square, where sale of fortified wines and single containers of beer already is banned.

While the AIA proposal has been supported by neighborhood and business groups, owners of some small, immigrant-run convenience stores have argued that the ban puts an unfair burden on them and would put them out of business.

The city's list of banned products was reduced to 28 in the final proposal presented Wednesday. The list originally included 34 products, but liquor-board staff found that several beers on the list were no longer sold in the state. Those beers were removed from the list, and one additional beer, Red Dog, was added.

Board member Roger Hoen said he lives in a blue-collar neighborhood and sees people pick up some of the beers on the list after a hard day's work. He acknowledged that some "innocent" people might be inconvenienced by the ban, but said sacrifices sometimes have to be made for "the larger good."

Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or jbrunner@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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