Liquor License Rules & Regulations

Number of Licenses by Class


The current number of licenses for each class shall be authorized as indicated below, unless changed by a majority vote of the Town Council:
Class Number
A
4 maximum
B - H 1
B - Limited
B - M 0
B - Tavern 2
B - Victualler 27
C
0
D - Club Full Privilege 1
D - Limited 0
F
5 per year per organization
F - 1 5 per year per organization
T - Legitimate Theater 1

New License Applications


A. Application


  1. An application form must be obtained from the Town Clerk, fully completed, and returned to the Town Clerk with the application processing fee and all required documentation to include:
    1. Site Plan
    2. Special Use Permit
    3. Master Plan Amendment Approval for locations in Special Management Districts.
  2. The application forms to be used are available in the Office of the Town Clerk and are specifically made part of these rules and regulations.
  3. The non-refundable application processing fee is $25.
  4. The application must contain a brief verbal description of the premises sufficient to identify the specific location, within the building and/or on the property grounds where liquor is to be served. A site plan, drawn to an acceptable engineering scale and accurately presenting all required data must be submitted with, and as part of, the license application. The site plan shall contain:
  5. Parcel identification (Tax Assessor's Map and Lot.)
  6. Property ownership.
  7. Zoning Classification.
  8. Identification of all special use permits, variances, and other legally authorized deviations from the Zoning Ordinance with dates of Authorization, including special use permits granted for the expansion of existing uses.
  9. Identification of exact premises within the building and/or grounds where liquor is to be served.
  10. Identification of all property owners within 200 feet of any point of the premises where liquor is to be served.

B. Notice


Notice of the application must be given by regular mail to all owners of property within 200 feet of the place of business seeking the application. The notice is to be given by the Town Council and the cost paid by the applicant. The notice must state that remonstrants have a right to be heard and state the time and place of the hearing. Notice need not be given regarding Class F licenses.

C. Advertising


The Town Council must advertise the hearing once a week for two weeks in a newspaper of local circulation. This requirement does not apply to Class F licenses. The initial advertisement must appear 14 days or more before the scheduled hearing date.

D. Basis for Denial


  1. All available licenses authorized under the limits established by these rules and regulations have been issued and no license is currently available.
  2. Objection is made by owners of the greater part of the area within 200 feet of the premises where a Class B, C or I license is to be operated. (Rhode Island General Laws §3-7-19) If the owner or owners of the majority of this area object, then the Council is without authority to issue the license. The area within 200 feet of the premises means the area within a line 200 feet distant from every side of the proposed premises.
  3. Objection is made by owners of less than the greater part of the area within 200 feet of the premises where the license is to be operated. The Council has discretionary authority to either issue or deny the license.
  4. Premises is located within 200 feet of a school or place of public worship. (Rhode Island General Laws §3-7-19) The 200 foot measurement shall be made from that point of the proposed licensed place closest to the nearest improved point of the school or place of worship.
  5. The Council has general discretionary authority to deny a license based upon criteria which it has established and fairly applies. The following criteria have been established by the Town Council:
    1. Compliance with all Town Ordinances;
    2. Citizen reaction to the application;
    3. Proximity of location to residential area, commercial districts, schools, churches and other establishments licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages;
    4. Impact on traffic;
    5. Parking;
    6. Impact on existing municipal services and requirement, if any, for new municipal services;
    7. Impact on Police Department;
    8. Whether license will be a major component of the business or an auxiliary use to an eating establishment;
    9. The history of operations at the premises for which a license is requested;
    10. Proportion of unsupervised patrons under 21 years of age;
    11. Effect on neighborhood real estate values;
    12. Qualification of the applicant to hold and operate the license;
    13. Such other health and safety factors as each individual application may present.
  6. Failure of applicant to comply with the requirements of State law, including, but not limited to:
    1. Applicant must be a citizen and resident of Rhode Island, except that licenses may be issued to corporations incorporated in other states of the United States if they are authorized to transact business in Rhode Island. (Rhode Island General Laws §3-5-10)
    2. Corporate applicants with 25 stockholders or less must provide a list of the names and addresses of all stockholders, officers and members of the board of directors to the Town Council, and each person listed must be a suitable person to hold a license within the discretion of the Town Council. (Rhode Island General Laws §3-5-10)
    3. Failure of a corporation to report the acquisition of a 10% interest and any change of officer or directors within 30 days. (Rhode Island General Laws §3-5-10)
    4. Applicant has a criminal record or repeated violations of the alcoholic beverage laws. (Rhode Island General Laws §3-5-10)

E. Special Use Permit


Liquor service is permitted under the Zoning Ordinance only by special use permit. Prior to filing the application for a license, the applicant must demonstrate that an application for a special use permit has been filed with the Zoning Board.

License Renewal Application


  1. All licenses (except F and F-1) are issued for a period of no more than one year and shall be renewable on December 1 each year in accordance with these rules and regulations and State law.
  2. License renewal applications shall be submitted on the same application form as an original application except that the application shall indicate that it is a renewal application. The license renewal applications should be submitted by October 1 to allow time for processing. Failure to submit a timely license renewal application shall be grounds for denying renewal of the license.
  3. The renewal applicant need not submit a new site plan provided that there is a site plan on file which accurately reflects the premises. If there has been any change in the premises, failure to submit a new site plan with the renewal application shall be grounds for denial of the application or revocation of the license.
  4. The full amount of the annual license fee must be submitted with the application plus a $25 non-refundable application processing fee. (Rhode Island General Laws §3-7-6)
  5. Failure of the Town Council to act on a license renewal application, timely submitted and fully completed and executed, shall cause the existing license to be extended until such time as the Town Council acts on the application. (Rhode Island General Laws §42-35-14)
  6. The holder of a license is entitled to have the license renewed, provided:
    1. The license renewal application is complete and timely submitted by October 1.
    2. The applicant meets all the criteria for issuance of the initial license.
  7. The Town Council may refuse to renew the license for cause. Cause shall include:
    1. One or more incidents of disorderly conduct within the licensed premises or without the licensed premises if the conduct can be shown to have its genesis within the premises.
    2. Failure to comply with State and local health and safety laws, codes, ordinances, rules and regulations.
    3. Failure to comply with State and local alcoholic beverage laws, codes, rules and regulations.
    4. Delinquency of applicant in payment of municipal taxes and user fees in accordance with §9-14 of the Town Code.
    5. Failure to furnish a Tax Certificate from the Rhode Island Division of Taxation.
  8. Notice: It shall not be necessary to provide notice by mail to abutting landowners.
  9. Advertising: The license renewal application shall be advertised in a newspaper of local circulation. The advertisement shall provide the date and time of the meeting at which the renewal application shall be considered.

Relocation or Transfer of License


  1. Relocation means moving the license to a new location; transfer means conveyance of the license to another person. (Rhode Island General Laws §3-5-19)
  2. Notice: Notice of the application for relocation must be given by regular mail to all owners of property within 200 feet of the place of business seeking the license. The notice is to be given by the Town Council and the cost paid by the applicant. The notice must state that remonstrants have a right to be heard and state the time and place of the hearing. Notice need not be given regarding a Class F license or for transfers to a new owner without relocation.
  3. Advertising: The Town Council must advertise the hearing once a week for two weeks in a newspaper of local circulation. This requirement does not apply to Class F licenses. The initial advertisement must appear 14 days or more before the scheduled hearing date.
  4. No transfer to another person shall be permitted unless indebtedness of the licensee incurred in the operation of licensed premises shall be paid to or released by an objecting creditor. If the debt is disputed, the transfer may be permitted upon the sworn statement of the licensee that the debt is disputed and the dispute is not being raised to facilitate the transfer. (Rhode Island General Laws §3-5-19) Creditors cannot object to a transfer resulting from a proceeding in bankruptcy, receivership, probate or other judicial process.
  5. No transfer to another person shall be permitted unless a Certificate of Good Standing is issued by the State of Rhode Island Division of Taxation indicating all State taxes have been paid.
  6. The Town Council has not adopted a policy of prohibiting all relocations or transfers, but the Town Council has general discretionary authority to deny relocations or transfers of a license based upon the same criteria which it has established for issuance of an original license, balancing these criteria with due consideration for the existing license holder's financial interest in the license.
    1. Criteria for Relocation Application:
      1. Compliance with all Town Ordinances;
      2. Citizen reaction to the application;
      3. Proximity of location to residential areas, commercial districts, schools, churches and other establishments licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages;
      4. Impact on traffic;
      5. Parking;
      6. Impact on existing municipal services and requirement, if any, for new municipal services;
      7. Impact on Police Department;
      8. Whether license will be a major component of the business at the new location or an auxiliary use to an eating establishment;
      9. The history of operations at both the old premises and the new premises for which a license is requested;
      10. The anticipated proportion of unsupervised patrons under 21 years of age at new location;
      11. Such other public health and safety factors as each individual application may present;
      12. Effect on neighborhood real estate values.
    2. Criteria for Transfer Application:
      1. Qualification of transferee to hold and operate the license.
      2. Compliance with all Town Ordinances.
      3. Such other public health and safety factors as each individual application may present.

License Restrictions


  1. The Town Council shall have the authority to impose restrictions upon a license, whether newly issued, renewed, transferred or relocated, provided the restrictions are designed to promote the reasonable control of alcoholic beverages.
  2. The Town Council shall have broad discretionary authority to impose restrictions which are generally applied to all liquor licenses or all licenses within a class. Restrictions applicable to all licenses include:
    1. No loud noise, music or other nuisance shall be permitted to annoy nearby residents, persons on adjoining properties, streets or sidewalks.
    2. Generally, the sale of alcoholic beverages must be incidental to the sale of food. License renewal applications shall specify the percent of gross sales generated by alcoholic beverage sales. Upon the request by the Town Council, the licensee shall submit sales figures and shall authorize the Town Accountant to obtain verification of sales figures by examining sales records and sales tax returns.
    3. Liability acceptance:
      1. The applicant assumes all responsibility and liability which may result from the granting of the license.
      2. Public Safety officials who are hired to police the establishment are not liable or responsible for the checking of identification; it is solely the responsibility of the applicant.
      3. The applicant acknowledges that the Town of South Kingstown assumes no responsibility by the granting of the license.
    4. Any other conditions imposed by the Zoning Board of Review must be complied with by the licensee.
    5. Effective December 1, 2002 all management and employee personnel of all licensed liquor establishments within the Town of South Kingstown who serve or sell liquor shall have participated in and been certified as having successfully completed an alcohol service training curriculum administered by an appropriate and recognized agency. Written certification identifying each employee who successfully completed such curriculum will be filed with the Town Clerk and police department. Persons currently certified will continue to be recognized as certified for three years following certification. Any new employees or license holders shall be required to have completed such course within sixty (60) days of employment or license award or transfer.
  3. Restrictions imposed upon a particular license, not generally applicable to all licenses, should be reasonably supported by competent evidence presented to the Town Council or agreed to by the licensee. Restrictions that may be imposed include, but are not limited to:
    1. Reduced hours of operation.
    2. Entertainment restrictions.
    3. Alcoholic beverage service with the service of a meal only.
    4. The service or drinking of alcoholic beverages may be restricted to tables.

Revocation & Fines


  1. The Town Council may revoke or suspend any license that it has issued, or impose a fine not-to-exceed $500 for the first offense and a fine not-to-exceed $1,000 for each subsequent offense committed within three (3) years of the date of the previous offense, if:
    1. The license holder has breached any express condition imposed on the license.
    2. The license holder has violated the provisions of State law concerning alcoholic beverages, including but not limited to the rules and regulations issued by the Liquor Control Administration.
    3. The license holder has violated the provisions of these rules and regulations or any applicable Town Ordinances.
  2. For purposes of this section, the licensee assumes responsibility for preventing its patrons from disturbing the surrounding neighborhood. Failure to do so shall be grounds for revocation or suspension of a license or imposition of a fine.
  3. Hearing: Prior to the revocation or suspension of a license, the Town Council shall send notice by mail to the licensee and give the licensee the opportunity to show cause why the license should not be suspended or revoked. The notice shall provide:
    1. The factual basis for the revocation or suspension;
    2. The date on which the show cause hearing is to be held.
If the Town Council finds that the public health, safety or welfare requires immediate suspension or revocation, it may suspend or revoke the license and promptly provide the licensee with a hearing.

Expansion of Liquor Services


  1. The Town Council specifically reserves the right to limit the area wherein liquor may be served.
  2. To expand the area wherein alcoholic beverages may be served beyond that authorized in the existing license, the license holder must:
    1. First obtain the approval of the Zoning Board to expand the special use permit to serve in the expanded area. All applicable requirements of the Zoning Ordinance with regard to special use permits shall apply.
    2. Obtain the approval of the Town Council to expand the premises wherein service of alcoholic beverages is authorized.
  3. To obtain approval from the Town Council for the expansion of liquor service, the license holder must submit a new license application, with a new verbal description and site plan. A public hearing shall be held; notice shall be given by advertisement once a week for two weeks in a newspaper of local circulation. The criteria applicable to a new license shall apply to an expansion.

Review of the Number of Authorized Licenses


  1. Prior to submission of the license application, the applicant must file with the Clerk of the Zoning Board (i.e. the Building Inspector) an application for a special use permit to serve alcoholic beverages.
  2. A public hearing will be scheduled by the Town Council after the applicant has received the special use permit from the Zoning Board of Review and received approval for any other prerequisites. The notice and advertising provisions of II. B. and C. shall apply. The Town Council shall close the liquor license application public hearing and defer their decision.
  3. Upon conclusion of the final public hearing scheduled to review the license application, the Town Council will review the information gathered and on that basis:
    1. Determine whether, in their discretion, the number of liquor licenses of any class should be changed.
    2. If the Town Council increases the number of licenses, it shall evaluate the applicants based on the criteria set out in these rules and regulations and State law.
    3. Award any available license.

Miscellaneous Matters


Annual License Fees*
A
$1,000
B 12 p.m. Opening, 2 a.m. Closing $200
B - H $100
B - Limited $300
B - M - Retail $1,000
B - Tavern $1,500
B - Victualler $1,500
C - Saloon $600
D - Club Full Privilege $400
D - Club Limited - Beer and Wine $200
E - Medicine/Poison $10
F
$15
F - 1 $35
T - Legitimate Theater $100

Hours of Operation


  • Class A:
    • November 1 to May 31 - 7AM to 10PM;
    • 11PM on legal holiday eves
    • June 1 to October 31 - 7AM to 11PM
  • Class B:
    • May operate at least from 9AM to 7PM on regular basis
    • Open no earlier than 6AM
    • Upon payment of additional $200, licensee may open at noon (instead of 9AM)
    • Close no later than 1AM
  • Class D - E:
    • No Limit
  • Class F and F-1:
    • Open no earlier than 6AM; Close no later than 1AM
    • Maximum 19 hours of operation
All costs for advertising and mailing notices shall be paid by the applicant.

*Amended August 12, 2003, September 27, 2004, February 11, 2013.