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More Licensing and Application Changes at the SLA

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In the last edition of Know the Law, we highlighted changes to application procedures that the State Liquor Authority (“SLA”) recently implemented to help speed up processing times. This is an ongoing effort, and the SLA passed additional advisories that affect applicants and licensees. We summarize some of the relevant ones here.

Fewer Documentary Evidence Will be Needed.

            Applicants will no longer be required to submit proof of workers’ compensation and disability insurance policies. They also will not be required to submit copies of Certificates of Authority to Collect Sales Tax. Of course, applicants and licensees are not relieved from their duty to obtain these insurance policies, where required, or to register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and obtain required tax certificates.

Additionally, the SLA will no longer require the submission of Certificates of Occupancy or Public Assembly permits. This means that those licensees who were granted an extension of time to submit a Certificate of Occupancy when their licenses issued, will not be required to provide them to the SLA when it comes time to renew their licenses. Still, all applicants and licensees must comply with all local and zoning requirements.

Those who are applying for on-premises beer or on-premises wine licenses will no longer be required to submit the Statement of Area Plan. This is the form that discloses nearby places of worship, and schools. Applicants for on-premises liquor, off-premises liquor and off-premises wine licenses, however, must still submit this.

As a reminder, financial documents also need not be submitted anymore with the application, but the SLA reserves the right to request them prior to issuing a license.

            In the last Know the Law, we noted that leases are no longer required to be submitted. The SLA has since clarified this point. Specifically, applicants will be required to submit leases before the agency issues a license, but the SLA is no longer conducting its own comprehensive internal review of leases. Instead, the SLA will rely on the representations of applicants and their representatives regarding legal issues related to the lease.

Simpler Diagrams and Simpler Forms

            At least one required document will be simplified. On-premises licensees and applicants have long been required to submit diagrams depicting the layout of tables and chairs. The diagram will just need to show the location of major items such as bars, bathrooms, doors, stages, DJ booths, outside service areas, etc. The number of tables and seats will still be required as part of the Establishment Questionnaire form, and the SLA will rely on the representations made by the applicant.

            The SLA will be updating its application forms to reflect the changes outlined in the new advisories. One form getting a makeover is the Landlord Identification form. Applicants will no longer be required to disclose whether a landlord principal is a police officer. Nor will they be required to disclose the licensing history of a landlord’s principals.

Restroom Waivers

            SLA Rule 48.4 requires on-premises licensees to provide separate restrooms for men and women but allows applicants to request a waiver. The SLA has seemingly expanded its interpretation of this rule. Waivers may be granted where there is a restroom in “reasonable proximity” to the licensed premises. In theory, this means restrooms need not necessarily be located in the same building as the licensed premises.             The Authority will continue to evaluate the application process and search for ways to simplify and speed up the process.

This article is not intended to give specific legal advice.  Before taking any action, the reader should consult with an attorney familiar with the relevant facts and circumstances.

Written by

Keven Danow

Keven Danow

Founding and Senior Partner
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