Trenton – In a move to address New Jersey’s archaic liquor license laws, Senator Troy Singleton yesterday introduced legislation which would establish procedures by which a liquor license may be transferred for use as part of an economic redevelopment plan.
“It is no secret that liquor licenses in New Jersey are a hot commodity and extremely valuable. But, our liquor license laws are unfair, archaic and outdated,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “By allowing inactive liquor licenses to be transferred to redevelopment areas, we are creating more opportunities for new restaurants and bars to flourish plus providing financial compensation to the towns from which the licenses are acquired.
“It is my belief that this proposal strikes a fair balance between the need to expand access to liquor licenses in our state, without devaluing existing owners’ significant investments in them,” continued Singleton.
Under the bill, a municipality that is eligible to issue an additional plenary retail consumption license would be authorized to offer the license at public sale to the highest bidding municipality in the state. The funds received from the sale would be transferred to the municipal treasurer for the general use of the host municipality.
In addition, the bill allows a receiving municipality that has reached the license limitation established under current law to issue a request for proposal (RFP) to acquire an inactive license from any license holder in this state. The RFP would be published on the official website of the municipality. The sending municipality may approve the application by resolution. The bill would require the receiving municipality to issue the license for use in connection with an economic redevelopment plan.
Lastly, the bill requires the sending and receiving municipalities to adopt, by majority vote, identical resolutions authorizing the transfer of the license. The identical resolutions would establish the license transfer fee agreed upon by both municipal governing bodies. Under the bill, a license that is not actively used within two years of issuance date would expire.