Input from municipalities and the local communities where applicants intend to operate their businesses is an essential part of the State Liquor Authority’s licensing process. All new applicants must notify their local municipality or Community Board at least 30 days prior to applying for a license. This 30-day prior notice ensures municipalities have an opportunity to assess prospective licensees and provide the Authority with a recommendation. When a municipality or Community Board submits a recommendation in favor of, or against granting the license, the recommendation becomes part of the record used by the Authority in deciding whether to approve the application.
New License Applications
The Authority makes licensing determinations on a case by case basis, considering the applicant(s), the merits of the individual application and community input. For each license granted, a determination of public interest is made specific to that application based on all information available, including support, opposition and other information presented in the record.
The Authority has a policy of sending all applications that are opposed by municipalities, community boards and elected officials to the Full Board for a hearing and determination, rather than approving or disapproving the application the licensing staff level. Full Board hearings are open public meetings that community boards and interested residents are welcome to attend and present testimony. The Authority also accepts written testimony and comments, and these become part of the licensing file reviewed by the Members of the Authority. If the municipality or Community Board chooses not to weigh in on the application, there is a presumption the community does not object to the license. The Members of the Authority makes final determinations on applications, after an extensive examination that includes community input.
Liquor License Renewal Process
In New York City, all on-premises licensees must also notify their Community Board of their intent to renew their license at least 30 days before filing a renewal application. As a practical matter, renewing a liquor license is a ministerial function; nearly all renewal applications that are complete and sent to the Authority before the expiration date are renewed. Unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct or violations that could lead to the termination of a liquor license are a function of the Authority’s disciplinary process. We encourage municipalities to report complaints or incidents occurring at a licensed establishment to the Authority’s Enforcement Unit.
Stipulations are agreements that a tavern, bar or restaurant owner makes with the surrounding community on matters including operating hours, live music, outdoor seating, etc. If a municipality or Community Board and the applicant reach an agreement with respect to the operation of the establishment, the SLA can incorporate these stipulations into the license. In cases where the SLA incorporates stipulations into the license, failure to comply with these conditions subjects the licensee to disciplinary action.