Securing any type of business license can be tricky, particularly if it is a Liquor License. Most people seeking to open or expand an existing Tavern, Restaurant or Package Good Store think about issues such as zoning, building permits, license applications and costs. What most people don’t think about, let alone do something about, is their neighbors and surrounding community.
A neighborhood organization or even a group of people from the community opposing your application can make life very difficult for the business owner. Opposition from the neighborhood will almost always lead to a delay in the process as well as expended time and money (legal fees and the cost of not being open).
In many cases, neighborhood opposition can lead to a denial of the license. This can happen for numerous reasons but most commonly:
- The neighbors voice their opposition to the local Alderman or elected official who suddenly finds it politically impossible to support the application, even if he told the business owner prior to applying that they would support the matter.
- The neighbors submit their opposition in writing to the licensing agency, who considers this factor when determining whether to grant or deny the license.
The good news is an experienced Liquor Licensing Attorney can help avoid this situation by assisting the business owner in navigating all aspects of the application process, including dealing with the Community, Politicians, and Press. Just as important, your Attorney will be taking measures throughout the application process to ensure that even if your license is denied, that you have every opportunity to resolve that denial during the appeal process.
A list of the specific actions your lawyer could take on your behalf:
- Arrange and Schedule for the business owner to meet with the local elected officials prior to ever signing a lease or putting any money into the business.
- Assist in crafting a vision/plan to present to the Alderman and if necessary, the community.
- Speak on behalf of the business with any press/reporters seeking information about your business.
- Arrange press releases/media coverage on behalf of the business if appropriate.
- Attend meeting with the business at local Neighborhood Organizations or Community meetings arranged by the local elected officials. The presence of a lawyer is critical at these meetings.
- Reply in writing to any written inquiries made by either the municipality, the local elected official or the community.
The above list of actions are in addition to all the other work your Attorney will do on your behalf to prepare the application and all the necessary supporting documents needed to secure your license.