Sequim School Board directors agreed Monday night with community concerns about a liquor license application at the new Arco AM/PM in Carlsborg, given the station’s close proximity to Greywolf Elementary School.
In a special meeting on June 24, directors heard comments from several staff, education advocates and area residents about the license.
Ultimately the board decided that they would pass along the concerns with their own indication of non-support of the store’s liquor license.
Board president Brian Kuh and director Jim Stoffer both spoke at length, wanting to make sure access to the school is “appropriately blocked off and secured,” with Stoffer adding that he would like to add additional security camera coverage to Greywolf Elementary.
Susan Baritelle, Greywolf Parent-Teacher Association President, spoke of her concern over the potential for 24 hour liquor sales, particularly given the easy access people would have going straight from the AM/PM to the Greywolf playground.
She noted that even without liquor sales currently happening at the store, they’ve already had to clean litter and debris much more frequently in the one week the store has been open.
Two Greywolf teachers asked if a more protective barrier could be placed between the Arco station and Greywolf, hoping that at least a chain link fence of some kind may be installed to deter people from crossing back onto school property. As of early this week there are a handful of concrete blocks between the station and the school.
Teacher Gretta Rich said that given as her class faces the gas station, she would prefer something more “visually obstructing” like a brick wall or even a tall hedge.
Board Vice President Brandino Gibson noted that he had spoken directly to the manager of the AM/PM, and said that he had been told that the store has 36 external security cameras, and that the store wants to “be a good neighbor for the school district.”
That brought up the discussion of making sure the store’s cameras couldn’t see “anything they shouldn’t” on the school grounds, which would be of concern to staff and parents alike.
There would have to be discussions with Clallam County as well on how to proceed with fencing off access between the store and the school, directors said.
Julie Schumaker, who along with her husband owns the Shell station across the street from the new Arco station, said she wanted to make sure that her family-run store didn’t get painted with the same brush as the new station. She said she “knows full well what happens at gas stations at night,” and that she and her staff have used their “comprehensive” security camera system to work with law enforcement to help curtail illegal activities on the property.
Board directors said they have until July 2 to respond to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis board on the application, and that they could formally object to it if they so chose.
The three school board members present — directors Heather Short and Robin Henrikson were not in attendance Monday — were in agreement that there was more than enough to be concerned about to take action.