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Archive for January, 2010

Jan 19 2010

THE 500 FOOT RULE PUBLIC INTEREST EXCEPTION

Generally, no more than three on-premise liquor licenses are permitted within 500 feet of each other. This is commonly known as the 500 Foot Rule. However, there is an exception to this Rule known as the Public Interest Exception.

If the location is subject to the 500 foot rule, and no “grandfathering” or other exception applies, the license cannot be issued unless the State Liquor Authority makes an affirmative finding that it is in the public interest to issue the license. This clearly creates a presumption that the license should not be issued. The 500 foot rule requires that the Authority consult with the municipality or community board and conduct a hearing to gather facts to determine whether the public interest would be served by issuing the license. This is commonly referred to as the “500 Foot Hearing”.

GENERAL RULE: No more than three on premise liquor licenses will be granted within 500 feet of each other unless the public interest exception applies.

When considering whether it would be in the public interest to approve the application, the Authority may consider the following:
– the number, classes and character of other licensed premises not only in the area where the proposed establishment will be located but also in the particular municipality (or subdivision of the municipality);
– whether the applicant has obtained all other necessary governmental licenses and permits;
– the effect on vehicular traffic and parking in proximity to the location;
– the impact on the existing noise level;
– the history of ABC violations and reported criminal activity at the location; and
– any other factor specified by law or regulation that would be relevant to deciding whether public convenience and advantage, as well as the public interest, would be served by approving the application.

The hearing required by the 500 foot rule is conducted before designated staff in the Authority’s four offices. The Members of the Authority have delegated to specific licensing staff the ability to approve applications when, after the hearing is conducted, there is no community opposition and no other reason for disapproval. In cases where the application is opposed by the community, the matter is referred to the Members of the Authority for determination. However, the fact that the community opposes an application does not mean that the Authority must disapprove the application. Conversely, an application may be disapproved even if the community supports it.

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Jan 04 2010

HOW TO OBTAIN A CABARET LICENSE IN NYC

Published by under Cabaret License

To receive a Cabaret license, you must first request a Fire Department inspection of your premises.
If the inspection results are positive, you will be notified and permitted to submit your application within 60 days of receiving such notice. If you fail to submit your application within the 60-day period, the inspection process must be repeated.
If the inspection results are negative, you will receive notice of the Fire Department’s objections. You will then be responsible for taking corrective measures to address such objections.
In addition, the Community Board where your business is located has 45 calendar days to respond with a recommendation.
An electrical inspection is also required. In lieu of a Department of Buildings electrical inspection, DCA will accept a notarized statement from a licensed electrician on the electrician’s letterhead, stating that the premise complies with all current electrical building codes. If you submit a current Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Department of Buildings within three months of the application date, the notarized statement from a licensed electrician is not necessary. However, if a temporary Certificate of Occupancy is submitted, the statement from the licensed electrician is required.
If you pass inspection, submit the following documents in person to the Special Applications Unit at DCA.

Basic License Application
For Sole Proprietorships, submit a notarized copy of your Business Certificate, certified as a true and accurate copy by the County Clerk of the borough in which your business is located. The address appearing on your Business Certificate must be identical to the address for which you are seeking a license. If you are a sole proprietor doing business under your own name, and not a trade or Doing Business As (DBA) name, you do not need a Business Certificate.
For Partnerships, submit a notarized copy of your Partnership Certificate, certified as a true and accurate copy by the County Clerk of the borough in which your business is located. The address appearing on your Partnership Certificate must be identical to the address for which you are seeking a license.
For Corporations, submit a stamped Certificate of Incorporation or a filing receipt. If applicable, you must also submit your corporation’s Assumed Name Certificate. These certificates must be stamped by the New York State Secretary of State.
Enter the Sales Tax Identification Number (9-digit number) on your New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Certificate of Authority on the license application form.
Photo ID of the person submitting the application.

Environmental Control Board Clearance. The Department of Consumer Affairs will review the Environmental Control Board’s (ECB) records to see if you have any outstanding violations. If you are found to have outstanding fines or violations, you can submit full payment for all fines at the Licensing Center and we will forward such payment to ECB. If you wish to dispute ECB’s records, you can go to the ECB at 66 John Street, 10th floor, in Manhattan to settle these fines or violations and to obtain a clearance letter.
A copy of a current Place of Assembly Permit from the Department of Buildings must be obtained if total capacity exceeds 74 persons. The permit must indicate the usage for which a license is sought. The permit must not be altered or defaced in any way. The Fire Department will inspect your premises if you do not have this permit. If the Fire Department inspection is positive, the Place of Assembly Permit does not have to be submitted.
Certificate of Occupancy for proper usage, which has been stamped by the Buildings Department within the past two years. The Certificate must show the approval for “Use Group 12” and “Cabaret” or “Eating and Drinking establishment without restriction on entertainment.”
Current Food Service Establishment Permit.
Notarized Affidavit of Security Personnel Background Check.
If you are a SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP or a PARTNERSHIP, the proprietor and each partner must submit a Notarized Child Support Certification form.
License Fee. Must be paid by check or money order payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.

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Jan 04 2010

NY STATE LIQUOR AUTHORITY LIST OF ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION FOR AGE VERIFICATION OF CUSTOMERS

It is a crime to sell, deliver or give away an alcoholic beverage to a person(s) less than 21 years of age in a licensed establishment. You should instruct your employees to check for proof of age before delivering an alcoholic beverage. In surveys, many underage purchasers say they were not asked for proof of age. Licensees are responsible for indirect deliveries of alcoholic beverages to underage person on or about the licensed establishment. Precautionary measures should be implemented to insure that underage persons are not obtaining alcoholic beverages through a third party. If you suspect that an alcoholic beverage is being purchased for an underage person, refuse the sale.

Acceptable forms of Identification include:

1) A valid driver’s license or non-driver identification card issued by the commissioner of motor vehicles, the federal government, any United States territory, commonwealth or possession, the District of Columbia, a state government within the United States or a provincial government of the dominion of Canada.
2) A valid passport issued by the United States government or any other country.
3) An identification card issued by the armed forces of the United States.

BE CAREFUL: Birth Certificates, college IDs or Sheriffs IDs are not acceptable proof of age.

Tips for checking valid ID documents:
Check for tampered or fake documents.
Check the date of birth on the ID.
Check information and photo on the document and compare data to the person presenting the ID.
Check the lamination for unclear edges.
Check for bumps or uneven surfaces on document.
Check for erased ink or alteration marks around the date of birth.
If NYS license, check security laminate for continuous state seal.
Ask for a second form of ID.

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Jan 04 2010

LIQUOR LICENSES GRANTED IN UNDER ONE MONTH!

On September 14, 2009, the NY State Liquor Authority implemented a program where attorneys can Self-Certify applications that they file on behalf of their clients. The Self Certification Program has been implemented to allow for the quick review of applications that are certified by an attorney to be true and accurate and comply with all statutory requirements. Only applications filed by Attorneys qualify for this program and the NYSLA is stating that applications filed pursuant to this program can be turned around in one month or less!  In order to qualify for the program:
1) ALL questions must be answered and have the correct response. If a question is not applicable to a specific application, “n/a” must be checked and the reason it is not applicable must be given. Use additional sheets to explain if necessary;
2) The application must not require Full Board determination (i.e. 500’ case with objections, new package store applications, percentage rent over 15%);
3) No one other than the applicant holds a security interest in the business;
4) Both the applicant and the attorney must sign the certification. If a partnership, all partners must sign.
This program will be in effect for a six (6) month period beginning September 14, 2009. Applications will be audited to determine if the program should remain in place.
Attorneys participating in the program must submit a monthly report (by the 10th of each month) listing the serial numbers of the applications they have filed under this program.

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Jan 03 2010

NEW YORK’S ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW

To access the Laws of New York please click on the following link and select ABC from the menu.

Consolidated Laws

Article 1 – Short Title; definitions. (Sections 1-3)

Article 2 – Liquor Authority. (Sections 10-19)

Article 4 – Special Provisions relating to Beer. (Sections 50-57-a)

Article 4-A – Special Provisions relating to cider. (Sections 58-59)

Article 5 – Special Provisions relating to liquor. (Sections 60-67)

Article 6 – Special Provisions relating to wine.  (Sections 75-85)

Article 7 – Special permits. (Sections 90-99-g)

Article 8 – General provisions. (Sections 100-130)

Article 9 – Local option. (Sections. 140-147)

Article 10 – Special provisions. (Sections 150-155)

Article 11 – Miscellaneous provisions.  (Sections 160-164)

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Jan 01 2010

NY LIQUOR LICENSE FACTS

What are the minimum requirements for eligibility to hold a license? Applicants must be US citizens or have permanent resident alien status. In some cases, citizens of countries with reciprocal trade agreements may apply. Applicants must be 21 or older. Applicants must not be convicted felons (unless they have a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities). Applicants cannot be a police officer with arresting powers.

What are the permitted hours of operation for any given licensee? The hours of operation are regulated by county where the business is located, except for New York City which is regulated by statewide law.

What are the Notification to the Clerk/Community Board and Notification of Publication? On-premises license applicants must notify the appropriate government entity (village, town or city clerk or the appropriate community board if in NYC) as well as the designated newspaper of a pending license application at a particular location.

When filing my application, am I required to submit the entire fee? Yes.

Can I qualify for a temporary permit while I wait for my permanent license application to be processed? To qualify for a temporary permit, the following conditions must be satisfied:
There must be an active license in existence at the premises for which you are applying. The permit and $640.00 fee must be filed simultaneously with the Retail License Application. The temporary permit will expire 90 days from the date of issuance.

Are there any restrictions on the location of my premises? With certain exceptions, applicants for a liquor store license, wine store license and on-premises license cannot be within 200 feet of a school, church, synagogue or other place of worship.

In what instances will criminal convictions or administrative actions by the SLA disqualify my application? Individuals not eligible for a license include: (i) a person convicted of a felony in NYS, including felony DWI; (ii) a person convicted of a crime in another state or federal jurisdiction which would translate to a felony conviction if committed in NYS; (iii) a person convicted of misdemeanors under sections 230.20 or 230.40 of the NYS Penal Law or 1146 of the former NYS Penal Law; (iv) a revoked license will disqualify the licensee for a period of two years; if the revoked licensee was a corporation any officer or director may also be disqualified.

Note: If an executive pardon or a certificate of relief from disabilities is obtained, the convictions are no longer disqualifying in and of themselves, although all convictions may be considered as part of the total merit of the application.

How old must a person be to serve alcoholic beverages as a bartender or a waitress/waiter, etc.? A person must be at least 18 years of age to be employed in a retail premises “as a hostess, waitress, waiter or any other capacity where the duties of such person require or permit such person to sell, dispense or handle alcoholic beverages.” (Section 100.2-a – ABC Law)

How old must a person be to work as a cashier in a grocery store? Grocery store beer licensees may employ a person under 18 as a cashier “to record and receive payment for beer and wine product sales when in the presence of and under direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or over.” (Section 100.2-a(1)&(2) – ABC Law)

What must I do to conduct a teen night in my premises? At least 10 days prior to the event, you must notify the State Liquor Authority, in writing, advising them of the exact dates.

What is acceptable proof of age to purchase alcohol in New York? A valid driver’s license or non-driver identification card issued by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, the Federal Government, a State Government, Commonwealth, Possession or Territory of the United States or a Provincial Government of Canada; or a valid U.S. passport, or valid passport of any other country; or a valid military ID from the U.S. (Section 65-b.2(b) – ABC Law)

Can a restaurant deliver beer with a food order? Yes. The Authority has ruled that on-premises licensees may deliver beer in containers along with a food order provided that order is received in the licensed premises. An order received by the licensee in the licensed premises over the telephone (or by fax) complies with this ruling. The Authority’s ruling applies to beer only. The sale or delivery of wine or liquor for off-premises consumption by an on-premises licensee, other than a hotel off-premises (HOP) permittee, is a violation of the law.

If I have a felony conviction, can I work in a licensed premises? On-premises retail licenses (taverns, restaurants, night clubs, etc.) are prohibited from knowingly employing a person convicted of a New York State felony or other specified offenses. No person holding any license, other than a license to sell an alcoholic beverage for retail off-premises consumption, shall knowingly employ in connection with his business, any person who has been convicted of a felony, or any of the following offense listed in Section 102.2 of the ABC Law, who has not subsequent to such conviction received an executive pardon therefore removing any civil disabilities incurred thereby, a certificate of good conduct or other relief from disabilities provided by law, or the written approval of the State Liquor Authority permitting such employment. (See Section 102.2 – ABC Law). There are no prohibitions against a person convicted of a New York State translated felony, or certain specified offenses to be employed on any retail premises licensed for off-premises consumption (i.e. grocery stores, drug stores, or liquor stores).

Can a liquor store take returns of unwanted purchases? No, the State Liquor Authority does not approve the acceptance by a package store of the return of liquor or wine purchased by a customer in error. The State Liquor Authority authorizes package store licensees to accept the return of liquor or wine from a customer only if the merchandise is defective in quality. The bottle should be sealed and tagged with a statement as to the date and reason for its return and should be sent back to the manufacturer or wholesaler from whom it was purchased within a reasonable time.

Does a licensed premises have to take back empty bottle returns if they were not purchased from that premises? Yes, the “dealer” – the retailer – defined by the statute as a person who engages in the sale of beverage containers to a consumer for off-premises consumption in the state, must: accept at his place of business and from any redeemer, any empty beverage containers of the type sold by the dealer, regardless of whether or not the filled beverage container was originally sold by the dealer, and pay the redeemer the refund value of each such beverage container.

What can I do about a noisy or rowdy bar? Contact the police department having jurisdiction at the time the disturbance is occurring. You can also contact the New York State Liquor Authority by way of telephone, written complaint, e-mail, or personal visit to Zone Office. Complainant should make a written record of date, time and nature of disorder documenting specific problems with the licensed premises.

Can a customer bring in his or her own liquor/wine/beer into a licensed restaurant or bar? Yes, with the approval of the licensee and as long as the alcohol product is covered under the license in effect and the patron removes the unconsumed alcoholic beverage upon departing the licensed premises.

How old do you have to be to purchase non-alcoholic beverages? Non-alcoholic beverages do not come within the jurisdiction of the State Liquor Authority, except with respect to the so-called non-alcoholic wines which contain tiny percentages of alcohol. Such wines have been classified by the State Liquor Authority as standard wines that can only be sold in New York State for off-premises consumption by package store licensees. Non-alcoholic products may not be sold in this state by package stores. They may be sold by grocery and delicatessen stores, whether licensed or not. They may be served by on-premises licensees for consumption on the premises, and used by these licensees in the preparation of cocktails and other alcoholic drinks.

What are the provisions of Section 117-a of the ABC law? Unlimited Drink Offerings Prohibited. No licensee, acting individually or in conjunction with one or more licensees shall: offer, sell, serve or deliver to any person or persons an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price; allow a person, agent, party organizer, or promoter, as such terms shall be defined by the Authority in rule and regulation to offer, sell, serve, or deliver to any person or persons unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price; or advertise, promote, or charge a price for drinks that in the judgment of the Authority creates an offering of alcoholic beverages in violation of the purposes and intent of this section, or which in the judgment of the Authority is an attempt to circumvent the intent, and purposes of this section, such as, but not limited to, offerings of free drinks, or multiple drinks for free or for the price of a single drink, or for a low initial price followed by a price increment per hour or other period of time, or for such a minor amount that in the judgment of the Authority the pricing would constitute an attempt to circumvent the intent and purposes of this section. With respect to an individual licensee, this section shall not apply to private functions not opened to the public, such as weddings, banquets, or receptions, or other similar functions, or to a package of food and beverages where the service of alcoholic beverages is incidental to the event or function. The State Liquor Authority has determined that 2 for 1, half price and Happy Hour specials whereby the price of a drink is not lower than one-half of the premise’s normal or regular price for the same drink does not constitute an attempt to circumvent, the intent and purpose of this statute.

Are football pools, dice games, sign up sheets illegal? Yes, Sections 106.6 and 105.22 of the ABC Law prohibit gambling in businesses licensed for consumption on and off the premises. This includes social, casual and professional gambling. Exceptions are the sale of lottery tickets when licensed by the Division of the Lottery and bingo or games of chance when authorized by the State Racing and Wagering Board.

Does the authority have tips or training for bartenders? Yes. A recent law enacted by Governor Pataki and the State Legislature provides a voluntary Alcohol Awareness Training Program for people licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in New York State and their employees. The Authority has established requirements for the curriculum of the program and approves schools and other entities to teach the program.

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