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THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW

THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW | THE 500 FOOT RULE | THE GRANDFATHER PROVISION

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Law prohibits the State Liquor Authority from issuing a retail license for the sale and consumption of liquor (commonly referred to as an On Premises License) for a premise that is within 500 feet of three other establishments already operating with On Premises Liquor Licenses.

In other words, generally if there are three other bars or restaurants with on premises liquor licenses within 500 feet of your location, the SLA will not give you an On Premises License.

I say generally because there are exceptions. The exception that I will address here is known as the Grandfather Provision of the 500 Foot Rule. This provision allows for the issuing of a new On Premise License to an establishment that is within 500 feet of three other such establishments if the location has been continually licensed since prior to the enactment of the 500 Foot Rule (November 1, 1993).

I have argued for a client who was applying for an On premises License for a location that was indeed within 500 of three other establishments that held On Premise Licenses. However, my clients location had been continually licensed since 1988. The problem was that the establishment for which he was trying to get a new On Premises License had closed and surrendered its license five months earlier.

The question was whether my client’s location had been continually licensed since prior to the enactment of the 500 Foot Rule and whether the surrender of the license constituted a break in that continuation.

I argued that the location had been licensed for five years prior to the enactment of the 500 Foot Rule, so that it was well within the Grandfather Provision. and had been without a license for only a few months, and that the license had been surrendered to the SLA according to Alcoholic Beverage Law requirements.

The Members of the Authority agreed with me and found that the location had indeed been continually licensed since 1988 and fell well within the Grandfather Provision of the 500 Foot Rule. As a result of this ruling, my client was able to apply for and receive an On Premise License for his establishment.

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