Solving the Mystery of the Full Liquor Board

Some liquor license applications must be considered by the Full Board at a public meeting.  This can add weeks or months to the process of acquiring a license.  The Examiner or Deputy Commissioner can also exercise his/her discretion to refer any case to the Full Board if he or she feels there are questions of qualification or public convenience.  To help you estimate a realistic timeline for receiving your liquor license and scheduling your grand opening, the following list details licensing matters that must be presented to the Full Board for consideration (unless there is a statutory provision requiring the disapproval of the application by the Licensing Board):

1) All new package stores. There is an exception for removals (liquor store    relocations) when there is no change in the 4 closest stores and the new location   is:  in New York City and is no  more than 400 feet from the current location; or outside of New York City and is no more than 1,500 feet from the current location.

2) Applications where an application filed by the applicant or for the location has been disapproved within the last 2 years.

3) Applications where there is a STOP on the applicant or premises;

4) Applications involving questions of eligibility of applicant (citizenship, conviction record, police officers);

5) Review of Licensing Board determinations disapproving an application;

6) Reconsiderations of prior Full Board licensing determinations;

7) Applications where a protest to an application has been received from a governmental/elected official, police agency or municipality;

8) Applications for on-premises licenses in the city/town of Spring Valley, Rockland County;

9) Applications for any license in the Village of Hempstead, Nassau County;

10) Applications for establishments with an occupancy of 75 or more that require a waiver of the 2 bathroom requirement;

11) Applications for establishments serving beer for on premises consumption (class designation “EB”) in the counties of New York, Queens, Kings, Richmond, Bronx, Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester that have a capacity of less than 20 seats, are open 24 hours a day or are requesting a change in the class of license from a Grocery Store (A or AX) to an Eating Place Beer (EB);

12) All other applications which, in the judgment of the Deputy Commissioner of Licensing, involve unusual, complex matters or those involving the public interest;

13) Any application for a temporary retail permit when it appears, as provided for herein, that the application for the underlying license must be presented to the Full Board for consideration; and

14) Any application for a substantial corporate change where there is a change of

15) 70% -79% of the officers and/or directors or LLC Members, a transfer of 70% – 79% of stock of the corporation or LLC or an existing stockholder obtaining 70% – 79% of stock of the corporation or LLC.

16) Applications for a premises where the prior license was revoked or cancelled, unless:

a)    The prior license was cancelled and there is nothing in the record to show a connection between the prior licensee and the applicant;

b)    The prior license was revoked and there is nothing in the record to show a connection with the applicant  and there is no “public convenience and advantage” or “focal point” issue involved;

c)    The application is subject to the 500 foot law, there are no objections, and the applicant has submitted a “public interest” statement in support of the application;

d)    An application where the prior license was cancelled or revoked and that penalty was based solely on the prior licensee having been a prohibited person by revocation; and

e)    The prior license was cancelled due to non-payment of a civil penalty and no other complex or controversial issues exist.

Matters that go to the Full Board are reviewed more carefully.  If your application involves any of the situations in this list, you should consider consulting experienced legal counsel to assist you in preparing and filing your liquor license application.  Experienced legal counsel can strategize with you to position your application for the best chance of success.  It is an investment with good return for years to come.