Friday, June 22, 2007

Council Makes Annual Liquor License Decisions

Eight bars, one social club and one package goods store will be in limbo as of June 30 since the City Council decided June 20 to take no action on their liquor licenses.

Each license holder will have to take out temporary licenses until the governing body, which acts as the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control board, grants or denies renewal.

In its annual review of all the liquor licenses, the council voted to renew licenses for four social clubs, six bars and 12 liquor stores.

The council also approved a person-to–person transfer of a license for the Rusty Spigot to Mahamatie Beni, trading as Latino Heat Sports Bar & Grill at 308 Watchung Avenue.

The Richmond Beer Garden’s consumption license was renewed, but no mention was made of an application to have a store there instead of a bar. The building was closed months ago and is under renovation.

Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson said the non-renewals of four inactive licenses will most likely be appealed to the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which is within the Attorney General’s office. The city may deny renewal of an inactive or “pocket” license after two years if the owner has not found a location, but because a liquor license is valuable, the state generally tries to work with the license holder to protect the investment.

Two licenses that the city renewed are for establishments that are facing suspensions imposed by the state. The Anchor Bar on West Front Street had its license renewed pending an 89-day suspension and a store called San Homa Liquors at 1001-03 East Second Street won renewal pending a 62-day suspension.

Councilwoman Linda Carter said Wednesday the report of police calls at each licensed establishment in the city was in a code that she could not decipher. Carter said previously the report had been in a format that she could interpret. She asked for a new version of the report in understandable language.

Carter also asked for more frequent reports on police calls at place where liquor is sold or consumed, perhaps quarterly or twice a year rather than just once a year at license renewal time.

Resident Sheldon Green again asked the City Council to straighten out the matter of the proper address for a Grant Avenue liquor store. Green said he has asked the city for the past few years to get the proper address on the license, but nothing has happened. Mail is misdelivered and people at the address on the license have been inconvenienced by the mix-up. Williamson said police will check on it, but City Clerk Laddie Wyatt said the address on the license comes directly from tax records. City Administrator Marc Dashield said those records will be checked as well.

--Bernice Paglia


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