Changing the Liquor Laws: Give me feedback

At our last meeting the owner of the former Dos Amigos ran into a problem transferring his liquor license due to a violation for serving a minor in 2007.  To be clear, serving a minor is serious and the violation should be punished.  However shutting down a successful business with a history of few issues is probably too extreme.  At the same time the law clearly says that he can’t get a liquor license and we should not ignore the law.  What everyone agrees is that we have to make changes to the law.  I made a motion at the last meeting to grant a 30 license while we reviewed the ordinance.

Here is the proposed ordinance change from the city attorney.

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING AND REENACTING SECTION 125A.03 OF THE ROCHESTER CODE OF ORDINANCES, RELATING TO THE ELIGIBILITY FOR AN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE LICENSE.

THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ROCHESTER DO ORDAIN:

Section 1.          Section 125A.03 of the Rochester Code of Ordinances is hereby amended and reenacted to read as follows:

125A.03.  Eligibility for License.  Subdivision 1a.  No license for the sale of alcoholic beverages shall be issued to a person:

A.        under twenty-one years of age;

B.        not of good moral character or repute;

C.        who has had an intoxicating liquor or 3.2 percent malt liquor license revoked within five years of the license application, or to any person who at the time of the violation owns any interest, whether as a holder of more than five percent of the capital stock of a corporation licensee, as a partner or otherwise, in the premises or in the business conducted thereon; or to a corporation, partnership, association, enterprise, business, or firm in which any such person is in any manner interested;

D.        not a proprietor of the establishment for which the license is to be issued;

E.        who, within five years of the license application, has been convicted of a felony or a willful violation of a federal or state law, or local ordinance governing the manufacture, sale, distribution, or possession for sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages;

Subd. 1b.      For purposes of this section, the term “willful violation” does not include a violation of any state law or city ordinance prohibiting the sale or distribution of an alcoholic beverage to a person under the age of 21 unless the violation is a part of a repeated and recent history of selling or distributing alcoholic beverages to underage persons.

Subd. 1c.        For purposes of this section, the terms “issued” or “granted” include the initial issuance of a license, and the renewal or transfer of that license.

Subd. 2.          In the case where a partnership, corporation or association is the person seeking the license for the sale of alcoholic beverages, the term “person” as used in subdivision 1a(E) includes partners, corporate officers, officers or shareholders of the partnership, corporation or association.

Subd. 3.          No license shall be granted to any manufacturer or distiller of alcoholic beverages, nor to anyone interested in the ownership or operation of any such place, nor to a person operating a Incensed place owned by a manufacturer, distiller or exclusive wholesale distributing agent unless such interest was acquired at least six months prior to January 1, 1934; and no equipment or fixture in any licensed place shall be owned in whole or in part by any such manufacturer or distiller.

Subd. 4.          No intoxicating liquor license shall be granted for operation on any premises upon which taxes or assessments or other financial claims of the city are delinquent and unpaid.

Subd. 5.          No intoxicating liquor license shall be granted to any person who opens a new drug store after January 6, 1934, until such person shall have operated such store continuously for a period of two years, or shall have purchased a drug store that shall have been in continuous operation for a period of two years.

Subd. 6.          Limitations on issuance of licenses to one place or person.

A.        No more than one retailer’s intoxicating liquor license may be issued for one place.  Except as provided in clause E of this subdivision, no more than one retailer’s intoxicating liquor license may be directly or indirectly issues to any one person.

B.        A license shall be considered directly or indirectly issued to any one person if that person has an interest in the license.  The term “interest” means any pecuniary interest in the ownership, management, or profits of a retail liquor establishment, and includes the receipt of money from time to time directly or indirectly from a licensee, in the absence of consideration and excluding gifts or donations.

C.        The term “interest” does not include the following:

(1)    Loans, rental agreements, open accounts or other obligations held with or without security arising out of the ordinary and regular course of business of selling or leasing merchandise, fixtures, or supplies to the establishment;

(2)    ownership of ten percent or less interest in any other corporation holding a license; and,

(3)    an interest in a corporation owning or operating a hotel but having at least 150 or more rental units holding a liquor
license in conjunction herewith.

D.        In determining whether an “interest” exists, the transaction must have been bona fide and the reasonable value of the good and things received as consideration for a payment by the licensee and all other facts reasonably tending to prove or disprove the existence of a purposeful scheme or arrangement to evade the restrictions of this subdivision shall be considered.

E.        Notwithstanding clause A of this subdivision, up to three Intoxicating Liquor Licenses (other than Intoxicating Liquor/On-sale Exclusive Liquor Store Licenses) may be directly or indirectly issued to one person.  Of the three Intoxicating Liquor Licenses issues to one person, only one may be an Intoxicating Liquor/On-sale Exclusive Liquor Store License.  Only one Intoxicating Liquor/On-sale Exclusive Liquor Store License may be directly or indirectly issued to one person.

F.          Notwithstanding any provision of this subdivision to the contrary, only one off-sale intoxicating liquor license may be directly or indirectly issued to any one person.

Section 2.      This ordinance shall be effective as of the date of its publication.

Please either email me or post your comments here.

One comment

  1. Two issues, this is very unusual situation because the licensee holder was the person who made the sale, normally it is a staff person so the disqualification would not apply, the felony line again would be very unusual, only time it applies is in the event sale to minor resulted in death or serious injury, so the other language is the issue. The new definition fixes the problem but do you want to give that many chances for the owner to make a sale without consequences, Up to you. Next should you take this opportunity to put something in about sale by staff, what do you do with an establishment that has a history of sloppy activity, perhaps language should cover both situations.

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