When someone applies for a liquor license and the application is protested by the community, what recourse does the applicant have while he or she waits for the ABC hearing and any appeals? After all, ABC’s investigation of a protested application and waiting for the hearing can take six months or longer. This can create financial hardships for some.
For example, I recently read an editorial at Santa Ynez Valley Times online about the Chumash Casino, owned by the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians. The casino has had a full liquor license since 2005 and has applied for another one for other areas of their property. The editorial writer didn’t understand why, after the tribe’s liquor license application was protested, the ABC “issued an expanded license with no public notice.”
Well, the ABC issued Interim Retail Permits.
Since 1993, the law allows ABC to issue an Interim Retail Permit to an applicant when an application has been protested and ABC has determined, based upon its investigation, that the license should be issued. An Interim Retail Permit is good for 120 days and may be extended. Unlike the permanent liquor license application, an Interim Retail Pemit does not require a public notice.
ABC cancels any Interim Retail Permit when a final decision is made regarding the protests or when the application is withdrawn. Any conditions for which the applicant has petitioned apply to any Interim Retail Permit. The protest hearing will typically be held within 60 days of the ABC investigator submitting his/her report to ABC HQ in Sacramento.
Any questions as to the status of a licensing investigation can be directed to the local ABC district office. ABC’s final decision as to whether the license should be issued may be appealed up to the State Supreme Court.