ABC board tables controversial liquor license transfer

Oct 31, 2016

Whether Olsen's Liquor Store will get the green light to open a package store up Lake Road won't be decided till February, following a troublesome phone connection between Nome and Anchorage.

A controversial proposal to transfer a liquor license to a proposed new store on Lake Road in Dillingham has been tabled till February.

Audio transcript: The state’s Alcohol Beverage Control board took up the matter Wednesday, but not in Nome as intended. The Board met in Anchorage instead; that was a problem for the license owner’s attorney Dan Coffey who had flown to Nome and said he was having a difficult time participating remotely.

"Mr. Chairman I would ask that the board consider putting this matter off until its meeting after the first of the year. There’s no rush with this, nothing is going away. And I have, like I said, I like to, I need, I must be able to present this stuff in person or I’m not going to be able to adequately represent my client," said Coffey.

Others listening in from Nome agreed they could barely hear the proceedings over the telephone.

In recent weeks growing list of Dillingham residents have voiced opposition to the transfer, citing primarily public safety concerns with a new liquor store on Lake Road. Mayor Alice Ruby says the city council protested the transfer because “an adequate discussion of those concerns has not occurred."

“That discussion didn’t occur because the applicant avoided it," she said. "They avoided it by doing such discreet public announcements or public notices, that the public has argued that it was intentional and it was done in a way to avoid public notice.”

The owner’s attorney, Dan Coffey, says he will present that his client met all statutory requirements for public noticing, and that the city’s protest is either "arbitrary, unreasonable, or capricious." But the ABC board agreed to delay voting on the matter until Coffee had a better opportunity to participate. It voted to table the issue until its February meeting.

Hundreds of people have signed petitions both for and against the liquor license transfer, and many wrote letters to the ABC board about the matter. Dozens attended the meeting by phone, and several offered testimony opposing the proposed new location for the liquor store.

Reach the author at or 907.842.5281