MUKILTEO, Wash, August 20, 2021 – The Chamber of Commerce Music at the Beach events, held at Mukilteo’s Lighthouse Park, were found to be serving alcohol without proper co-sponsorship, just two months after Diamond Knot’s Alehouse license was revoked for a similar violation.
The Music at the Beach summer concert series featured live music, food, beer and wine but only co-sponsored events are allowed to serve alcohol. At the January 19 city council meeting, city staff presented the co-sponsorship grants to council, including the Music at the Beach series, but was recommended to take some time with it through the special event process instead.
“It would have met the requirements for co-sponsorship at that time, and we should have asked for that authorization,” Mayor Jennifer Gregerson told the Lynnwood Times. “We were focused more on the logistics that are resolved through the special event process rather than the need for co-sponsorship for alcohol service.”
The Co-Sponsorship Policy allows for up to six events at Lighthouse Park on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday each year. In January, the Council approved one weekend event, the Lighthouse Festival.
Staff completed and followed the internal procedures for Special Event Permits, having ensured that the Chamber is following all of the special event procedures, and issued a Special Event Permit before their first concert in June.
After two events, during which alcohol was served without co-sponsorship, on June 26 and July 17 respectively, a last-minute special council meeting was called August 12, just two days before the third and final event, to discuss and eventually approve co-sponsorship allowing alcohol to be served at last Saturday’s event.
To resolve this one procedural issue, staff recommended that Council approve this motion to co-sponsor the Chamber of Commerce’s Music at the Beach event.
“This is certainly unfortunate, because we’ve already had two of these events, of which I’ve attended both. How did we allow and how did we let this get past us?” councilman Joe Marine said.
Marine motioned to co-sponsor the event with the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce, seconded by Bob Champion. The motion was approved unanimously by all council members in attendance which included council members Joe Marine, Sarah Kneller, Bob Champion, Louis Harris, and Riaz Khan.
“I’m glad that we are taking care of this, it would be unfortunate, especially this close to the event that’s been advertised, to not be able to do this. Sometimes you live and sometimes you learn, and I hope we learned. Let’s not get into this mix again,” Marine said.
Marine asked City Administrator Steve Powers if the city was at any risk of facing penalty or repercussions for the two events that served alcohol without co-sponsorship.
Powers assured there would be no repercussions from the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) because the agreement between the city and RCO, with respect to grant funds and how they are used, talks about conversion of park land for permanent uses not temporarily uses.
“We’re gonna be spending some time reviewing our process to make sure this doesn’t happen again, but also that we strengthen the connection with the co-sponsorship, as well as the special event application process, and handle them simultaneously in the future,” Powers said.
Apart from the co-sponsorship, the Chamber had the necessary license from the liquor and cannabis board to serve alcohol and was inspected for safety.
“With last night’s special meeting, we closed that loop and received council approval for the co-sponsorship,” Gregerson said of the special meeting held last Thursday.
Diamond Knot Alehouse violation
Last June, Diamond Knot Alehouse was stripped of their special event permit after Mukilteo resident Charlie Pancerzewski made an inquiry with the city and RCO how a business could serve alcohol in Lighthouse Park, which falls under an inter local agreement with Washington State Parks and the city of Mukilteo prohibiting businesses to operate on state park property. RCO confirmed that it was not made clear the Alehouse would be operating long-term on state park property.
While the two draw similarities, Mayor Gregerson informed the Lynnwood Times they were “completely different issues.”
“Diamond Knot was a completely different issue that arose in the summer. Because that is a commercial operation using park space exclusively for a longer period of time, the state parks RCO grant restrictions were part of the issue,” Gregerson said.
Aside from this, there is a one similarity between the two issues: Charlie Pancerzewski.
Pancerzewski brought up the issue with Chamber’s Music at the Park events to council, noting that the exception to the no-alcohol policy in the park requires an event to be sponsored or co-sponsored by the city, as part of the agreement with RCO when the park was deeded to the city in 2003.
“If you go back to the January 19 meeting when this was brought up, you’ll see that Jeff Price said that the Chamber of Commerce also recommended, as did the mayor or staff, that this not be a sponsored or co-sponsored event, and alcohol was one of the reasons mentioned for that. So, everyone has been involved with this and knew what was happening, and now all the sudden, on the last minute – a day and a half before the event, you call a special meeting to try and get it changed,” Pancerzewski noted in a public comment at last Thursday’s meeting.
Pancerzewski also expressed concerns that the Music at the Park event took place on the same day as the Lighthouse open house and gift shop opening, noting that many people, often elderly, interested in attending the lighthouse open house and gift shop would have a problem finding parking close to their destination.
Kandace Barnes, Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce, clarified that the reason the gift shop was open is because of the Music in the Park event. She mentioned it was not happenstance the two operated on the same day, but a planned event to take advantage of the crowds.
“I’m pleased to partner with the chamber and happy to learn the historical society is participating in a cosponsored event that I think is beneficial for all our citizens. I am equally pleased to hear the city recognizes that there was a violation of the Mukilteo municipal code is going to correct that and we’re going to identify lessons learned and get that documented and ensure something like this doesn’t happen like this in the future,” Councilman Bob Champion said of the matter, once settled.
Chamber of Commerce’s Music at the Park festival was successfully held last Saturday at Mukilteo’s Lighthouse Park. The beer and wine garden continued to serve alcohol under the newly approved co-sponsorship by city council.
The 2021 Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival is planned for September 10 through 12, and has the necessary approved co-sponsorship to serve alcohol on park property.