Riverton City Council denies Maverik liquor license transfer request; Cites proximity to schools and alcoholism issues
At the Tuesday, December 4th Riverton City Council meeting, Maverik Inc. proposed a liquor license transfer from their former building on S. Federal in Riverton, to their current building on W. Main Street.
Maverik Inc. District Manager Roger Packer spoke to the councilmembers and Mayor Lars Baker. He told the council that Maverik, who had closed their Federal location in April, was under the impression that they would lose their license if it was not active.
Council members noted the license can only sit unused for one year before it expires. However, if the license holder wanted to ask for an extension of one additional year, they can ask for that extension from the council.
Packer described the alcohol plans for Maverik as, “the bare minimum.” He said they would install a 4-foot tall rack that was 6 inches deep and 2 feet wide. “We’d do the bare minimum needed to keep the license,” he said. Only store employees would be allowed into the alcohol section.
He also expressed Maverik’s interest in possibly creating another Riverton-area location down the road, but said the company had no concrete plans to do so at this point.
After Packer gave a brief presentation, 18 community members each took a turn at the podium during a public hearing comment. Each of the 18 was against the license transfer.
Nearby resident Brad Crawford told the council members, “We have an issue citywide with intoxication and alcohol, I don’t believe solving that problem means that we put in another location where we can sell alcohol. It defeats the purpose of dealing with the intox problems we have already. I strongly advocate that we do not allow this liquor license to transfer.”
Riverton Branch Library employee Kirbie Despain added concerns about the library being close by, “We do have a problem with alcoholism at the library too, almost every single day we have to call the police department. Normally we don’t kick people out, but we have people that will pass out inside or outside.” If we had a license at Maverik it would exacerbate that.” Despain noted that the intoxication problem is so common, RPD gave them a direct phone number to call instead of calling the police department.
Another concerned voice was presented by a Riverton Middle School student. He told the council, “After school some of my friends go to the library and after the library, after that, they like to stop at Maverik to get candy bars and drinks. I’m afraid that if you guys do decide to add alcohol at Maverik, that more violence is going to happen and I’m afraid that some of my friends who attend the school are going to get hurt and see more influence of alcohol.”
After 50 minutes of discussion, councilman Tim Hancock made a motion to deny the liquor license transfer request, which was seconded by Lance Goede. Each council member present voted to approve the license denial motion, as did Mayor Baker. Ward I council member Sean Peterson was not in attendance.
Ward II councilman Mike Bailey told those in attendance after the vote, “This alone will not solve the intoxication problem that we have in Riverton. We’re looking at trying to do things about that, but we can close down half of the alcohol establishments in Riverton and we’re not gonna solve the problem. The 99.9% of people that live in this city use it appropriately, that’s not where the problem is. Just purely denying a license is not going to solve a problem, creating more isn’t either.” Bailey continued, “We need help coming up with solutions, so I would like everybody to really sincerely think about what we can do that could make a difference with the alcoholism, the vagrancy, and the issues that go with it. It’s not throwing people in jail and throwing away the key. We are trying sincerely through the Solutions Committee and other ways to find solutions to the problem, but it is not going to be easily solved. I hope we don’t point the finger at any certain business or individual and think they are the cause of this problem.”