Each type of license issued by the PLCB has specific legal requirements that must be complied with in order to qualify for the license to be issued to the license applicant. For example a holder of a restaurant liquor license must have on its premises seating for 30 patrons, food on the premises to feed 30 patrons, utensils, dishes etc. to serve the food, and a valid, current health license/permit issued to the premises by the local municipal authority, and the licensed premises must presently consist of a minimum area of 400 square feet. The license holder must continue to comply with the basic license requirements that apply to their specific type of license for as long as the licensee holds the PLCB license.
Licensees who fail to comply with a license requirement, as for example, not having a valid current health license violate the Liquor Code and/or the PLCB regulations and are subject to receiving a citation from the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.
Act 44 of 2017, which is presently in effect, also now gives the PLCB, in addition to the PA State Police, authority to enforce licensee’s compliance with the basic requirements to continue to hold a type of license. The basic license requirements governed by Act 44 are square footage, seating, food, number of rooms, and health license and other requirements depending on the type of license involved.
The PLCB will have an analyst, along with a law enforcement officer, inspect a licensee’s premises for compliance with the particular type of license requirements. If the inspection reveals that the licensee has failed to comply with a requirement, as for example having an insufficient number of rooms, this failure will be considered a deficiency. If the licensee promptly corrects the deficiency the PLCB analyst will note the correction.
If the deficiency cannot be corrected, the licensee’s license will be suspended and a suspension notice will be posted. Once a license corrects the deficiency a re-inspection is conducted and the suspension is lifted and the licensee can resume operation.
If the compliance requirement is not corrected within 15 days the license must be placed into safekeeping until corrected.
The PA State Police will be notified of the licensee’s failure to comply, so a citation for noncompliance with a legal requirement will be issued against the license.
A licensee can only appeal the PLCB’s suspension of a licensee’s operation privilege to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania which must hold a hearing within 10 days. Obviously, this will be a time consuming and expensive appeal.
The license requirements and the PLCB’s process can be found on the PLCB’s website www.lcb.pa.gov/licenseecompliance.
It is critical for all licensees to be aware of the specific requirements for the license that they hold and be in full compliance with those requirements. Failure to do so means that they will be subject to enforcement action by both the PLCB and the PA State Police.
Licensees should consult with their attorney regarding their specific license compliance requirements.